Are you a trust agent? Do you need to be?

Trustagent Chris Brogan (one of social media's Godfathers) and Julien Smith, a trend analyst and expert on building communities have released a new book, Trust Agents

The subtitle pretty much tells you what to expect….using the web to build influence, improve reputation and earn trust.  And that's exactly what the book focuses on. Sort of.

The book defines 6 characteristics of trust agents:

  • Make your own game:  Breaking with established ways and standing out from the crowd.
  • One of us: Being immersed in your community and truly belonging.
  • The Archimedes effect: Focusing your unique abilities to enhance your efforts — finding leverage.
  • Agent zero: Using your network/building relationships so that you have access.
  • Human artist: Strong relationship builder — recognizing that by genuinely helping others you can also help yourself.
  • Build an army: You can't do it alone.  Align with others, collaborate and create an avalanche. 

The book is a quick read — lots of good stories and examples.  Both Chris and Julien make their money by being their own version of an online superstar.  They use themselves as examples throughout the book and rightfully so — they've walked the talk.

Which begs (I think) the bigger question.  Does everyone need to be a trust agent? 

Do you need to be a web superstar to be a trust agent? 

In short, I think the answer is yes.  And no.

Yes, I think you do need to be a trust agent.  And no, I don't think you need to do it online.  

Go back and re-read the six bullet points.  Not one of them is dependent on being online or remotely recognizable on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.   All six core skills are simply about being the kind of human being that other people want to be around, want to do business with….in short, trust.

What social media and the web does is give you the tools to become and remain truly human…at a distance. And that's where this book is different.  It's not about the tools.  The tools are fluid…ever-changing and hopefully, ever-improving.

Instead, this book focuses a little on the why and a lot on the how of becoming a trust agent.  If you want to do it online — you will dog ear many pages of this book.  If you want to do it the old-fashioned way, there are still plenty of good lessons for you too.

Fair warning:  If you're a social  media neophyte, you'll devour the contents.  If you're a digital native who lives and breathes social media, you'll find the book a good reminder of what you already know with some fresh stories and tips tossed in. But I'm pretty sure everybody — regardless of your social media sophistication, will find the book relevant and helpful.

You can buy the book by clicking here.

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