Reflection #7 – [11/14] – Viral Pasad

“Jun Zheng, Elizabeth Veinott, Nathan Bos, Judith S. Olson, and Gary M. Olson. 2002. Trust without touch: jumpstarting long-distance trust with initial social activities. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’02). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 141-146. DOI:″

Zheng at al begin by explaining how traditionally a physical contact / ‘touch’ /proximity was considered quintessential for the establishment of trust, growth, and progress between teams working on collaborative projects and problems. Then, referring the reader to Moore’s work [1], they argue that trust can also be developed using other methods of contact which need not be physical contact or face to face communications. They posit that trust generation requires Interactivity, Visibility and Information between the team members. And these three may be achieved using:
1. Social chat (Interactivity)
2. Photograph exchanges (Visibility)
3. Personal Information/Resume exchanges (Information)
I specifically like how they articulate that “the disclosure of personal information may lead to trust because it makes one appear vulnerable in some cases, and allows the opportunity of finding similarities that lead to trust” and that “seeing a person makes the humanity of the partner more salient”

They conducted a study with 200 subjects where the subjects were made to perform a Day-Trader investment task after which they conclude that using text-chat to get acquainted is nearly as good as meeting and even just seeing a picture is better than nothing.

This conclusion would have not been obvious in 2002, however now it seems pretty obvious to us ‘Millenials’. This is indirectly related to my research, probably not directly however since I am trying to maximize productivity in group chats online. I wonder with the diversification of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) tools now, where individuals connect with their professional peers on professional networks and social networks as well, how would different ways/tools of communication affect productivity at what scale.