12 The 10-Second Commute However, even face-to-face first impressions are more computer-mediated than they used to be in the pre-internet era, where it was possible to have an entirely fresh introduction. Now, a proactive Google search of the target person is a common practice. These snippets make almost as strong an impression as a face-to-face meeting, even if we understand that they’re not fully representa- tive of anyone. We get lazy and rely on gut reactions instead of thinking deeply. As they say, seeing is believing, and what we see anchors us. This is the root of the troubling trend of buying into ideas without supporting evidence (think of the fake news crisis as an extreme example). We’re also more persuaded by information that’s backed by someone else (a connection reinforcing someone’s skill set on LinkedIn, for example, even though this is similarly subjective) through the process of trust transfer.5 In short, we take what we can get. This isn’t to say that there’s nothing useful to be found in this mild ver- sion of cyberstalking that we do. Our goal in scanning an online profile is to play detective. What is someone like as a person, and how similar are they to me? What do they know about? Who else do they know? How might all that help me?6 This is potentially much more than what we could discover in a first in-person meeting. Online photos also help bridge the gap and develop trust—without them, we’d feel much greater uncertainty. We are visual creatures at heart, hoping to determine whether this person is friend or foe.7 First impressions eventually give way to lived experience with people, even online, and then we know whom to trust based on accurate informa- tion. People we interact with frequently, who are timely in communicating with us and tend to honor commitments, share information, give us feed- back, share our values, and have positive reputations earn our trust.8 And once built, trust can pave the way for positive working relationships far into the future, even given long periods without connection. A series of studies have shown that despite being out of touch for years at a time, former col- leagues and others who would fall under the heading of dormant ties are surprisingly glad to hear from us and are happy to reconnect and help us as best they can at any point.9 In other words, trust keeps. Colleague vs. Friend Intuitively, we feel like the better we know our teammates, the more effec- tively we’ll work together. This is true on some level—it’s just easier to reach out to someone you know to ask a question, and we give richer answers to them as well. There are incredible gains to be had from team member famil- iarity, including better communication, better decision-making, and better performance. This quirk of human nature, that even the way we answer a basic question at work will be clouded by how we feel about the asker, can have a magnified
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