A little less than a year ago, someone sent me a copy of Trust Economies: Investigations into the New ROI of the Web by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. It was originally published at Change This. They said it sounded like things I talk about, but quite a bit more eloquent and clear. I took that, as expected, as a learning moment. It is worth downloading, even a year-plus later.
They open that whitepaper, the manifesto with a heading: “If you build it, they won’t come.” I’ve said that before and thought it many times. I’ve shared it with clients. But Brogan and Smith did explain it well. I kept the paper in my stash of thought leadership.
Over that year, the pair have been working on a book on the same topic called Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust It literally hit bookshelves a week or so ago and the reviews are terrific. If you hit this Amazon link, scroll down to Christopher Penn’s comments. His review is a five star, but tough review pointing out the weaknesses. Penn shares:
“If you’re already a trusted community member/manager, already a thought leader of sorts, Trust Agents isn’t going to do anything new for you. There isn’t anything in the book that you haven’t already heard and practiced before. Some of it will be good reminders of things you should be doing if you’ve lapsed, but for the most part if you have the trust of your community, your tribe, then don’t expect mental fireworks… If you are not a trusted member or leader of your community, Trust Agents is for you.”
Penn goes on:
“This is the paradox, the irony of Trust Agents, and the part that I hope all the buzz and hype actually works to break: The people who need Trust Agents the most are the least likely to read it.” Penn’s profile is here.
Trust as Currency
In Jump Point, Tom Hayes wrote about Attention as Currency. Brogan and Smith write about Trust as currency. Somewhere those two meet and intermingle. I won’t give you my attention if I don’t trust you. That’s somewhat obvious, however, when you start diving into social media and much of the web today, you find that there are many unknowns. Even people that are heavy users, early adopters, struggle with the new rules and boundaries. That’s what makes this new book appealing and important: No matter where you are on the spectrum, you can learn something about trust and navigating how to earn it and keep it in this new economy.
For those of you, who have read this new book Trust Agents, please share some of your thoughts. Next post, I want to explore their ideas around Return on Influence (as the ever popular play on Return on Investment).
TJ McCue is a strategic content guy and founder of Sales Rescue Team, a pay-it-forward company that does free small business reviews to help companies get new customers and grow. There are currently nearly 50 volunteer advisors on the team.