Continuing along with my show and tell… back to talking about some of the tasks I first tried out back when I used the old TaskRabbit. I’ve learned so much from doing such a wide variety of tasks for such a diverse array of people. And one of the things that really stood out to me from the outset was how trusting and transparent people are with…TOTAL STRANGERS (i.e., me).
Here are some examples of this:
Psych Report: One of my very first tasks was to research and select the “Top 10 treatment programs in the U.S.” for adults with ADHD. Apparently, my client was in his last year at a prestigious university, had recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and was unable to finish his courses and graduate. Immediately upon getting the task, I emailed him with a bunch of questions, the answers to which would provide useful information to help guide my search. In response, he emailed back to me a full Clinical Neuropsychology Assessment Report on him, complete with names, birthdates, family history, neuropsych test results, medical history, behavioral observations, diagnoses…you get it. I was both astonished and excited by the sensitivity and importance of what undeservedly lay in my hands.
LinkedIn Profile: Another one of my initial tasks was to find LinkedIn profiles of individuals who appeared to be a good fit for a job description provided to me. Since I don’t have the premium VIP type of LinkedIn membership, there were a lot of profiles that I was not able to access. My client – an executive at a big financial corporation that you’ve definitely heard of – did have this type of membership. So she gave me her LinkedIn login information, and I did the searching from her account. And since then, I’ve done dozens of tasks that involved LinkedIn and have been provided with dozens of personal login credentials.
I know about people’s medical conditions, credit card numbers, and the homes in which they live. I know their passwords, I send their emails, I claim to be who they are. I’m privy to the secrets of the strangers I’ve met and yet…just what do they know about me?
I’m a bit torn in my responses to these experiences. On the one hand, I’m shocked by the willingness to trust complete strangers with information that’s so personal. To hand over the reins to accounts that hold so much power and are associated with so many important connections. I could have done so many things to make their lives a mess, to ruin their well-developed reputations.
An entire profile, mistakenly erased.
A nasty email to a former boss.
A public post that’s not quite right.
I wonder what’s wrong with them… are they just too busy to realize the potential danger they’re putting themselves in? Are they tricking me somehow – is this some sort of psychological experiment to see how I’ll react?
These people knew nothing about me, and they were willing to share so much.
On the other hand, it sort of excites me…is this where the sharing economy is taking us? Are we evolving to the point where we’re devising new systems that REQUIRE us to be open and trusting? Are we demanding each other to really “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” without even knowing just who the “other” is?
Because maybe it’s this level of trust that’s needed to pull us closer together and to allow us to see ourselves as more connected. And able to work together in truly collaborative ways, as long as we trust and give the other person enough information, freedom, and respect. That opening ourselves up and making ourselves vulnerable, even to total strangers, might prove to us that we’re generally good people, who will do the right thing.
I know I’m going too far with this. I know there are countless examples of people using the transparency and accessibility of the Internet in ways that misuse and abuse. In ways that force us to become even less trustworthy than before.
All I know is what I’ve seen through my own experience with these seemingly simple tasks.
That being given this type of “insider information” made me feel protective and motivated. That being trusted from the start instilled the confidence in me to take special care on these tasks. I wanted to do the best job that I could for these clients. Because they trusted that I would.