Trust Agents by Brogan and Smith - A Review

I bought the book Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith the other week. I just finished reading the book over the weekend and wanted to do a quick book review (this feels an awful lot like my High School English class). I really enjoyed reading this book, there wasn't any groundbreaking information in it that I was not already aware of, but it did provide some great insights into how we are connecting with people online and more importantly why we are connecting and trusting the people that we connect with. When I am talking on any of my social networks, I think I display many of the traits and actions described in this book. It is great to take a step back and see how my actions impact my communities from a bigger picture perspective. Reading this book was useful as it helped me make sense of my behaviours of how I use Social Media Tools in both my work and personal life.

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I love the introduction: Hey I Know You, Have we Met?. When I read the introduction, I was thinking, how do these guys know me so well - I have never spoken to them before, have they been watching me?? My online behaviors follow to a tee, what the typical reader of this book is: Am I a business professional [check], social media evangelist [check], official job title does not match my passion [check] [edit: I changed my email signature :)], looking to improve my business on the web [check]. This book is about understanding how the web has become more humanised then it has been and using that humanisation to help us build business online. People that do this as Brogan and Smith refer to them are called "Trust Agents".

According to this book there are six characteristics of becoming a Trust Agent - I wont spoil the book and give away all the details, but the six characteristics talk about changing the rules of the game (what ever game it is you play), building honest relationships, understanding those relationships and gathering and working with your social networks. My favorite chapter is the "Make your own Game" and "The Human Artist" chapters. In the "Make your own Game" chapter there are some great examples of how people have changed their own markets which really stood out for me - from Radiohead's 'pay what you think it is worth' online release of their 'In Rainbows' album to Gary Vaynerchuk and his Wine Library. This chapter was quite motivating and reminded me to not be afraid to try new things as that is what will likely give people their business advantage.

In "The Human Artist" chapter I enjoyed being reminded that even though the technology will change people skills and how we treat others is still what is important regardless of the medium. From a company perspective working in the social media space is the new customer service. What many companies do not realise is that the way we talk online should be the new call centre for companies to listen to. So when we talk about a product or service on Twitter or Facebook these are the "new phones" that are ringing for companies to pick up. These are your customers looking for help - companies should pick up the call and talk to your customers. The only difference is that call is not coming from a phone or a fax machine anymore, it is now happening on various online conversations (conversations that some companies are not hearing).

There was a number of other great topics in this book that really got me thinking and put some new ideas in my head. Was this book worth the purchase price - I would have to say that yes it was. Whether you have an interest in social media and want to find out what "this stuff" is all about or if you are an social media enthusiast - this book will help change the way you communicate online.

This entry was originally publised on "David's Journal on Tap" blog.If anyone else has read this book, it would be great to hear your thoughts/comments/review. Leave your comments below.

Comments:

David: Great review. I really enjoyed this book as well. You might want to check out Seth Godin's "Tribes."

Posted by Jan Ackerman on September 22, 2009 at 05:03 AM CST #

Hi David, Great review and I will be sure to check out this book. I particularly like the fact that it hopefully inspires people and businesses to try new things. To not be afraid of change and of taking calculated risks. There is too much fear out there which limits innovation, creativity and also employees enjoying more satisfying work lives. "This chapter was quite motivating and reminded me to not be afraid to try new things as that is what will likely give people their business advantage." Kelly

Posted by Kelly Magowan on September 22, 2009 at 06:52 AM CST #

Hi David, Thanks for the great review. I found the book informative as well as thought provoking. You should also check out Matt Kain's review of the book http://www.thesearchagents.com/2009/09/trust-agents-book-review/ - his insight into social media brings new insight into the topic.

Posted by Camille Canon on September 23, 2009 at 06:20 PM CST #

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