Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review : Trust Agents

This book, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, was an accidental pick-up by me. In prior postings I noted that part of the Vision and Mission for Treasury is to be an approachable and dependable partner. The title of this book conveyed the impression to me that it would provide some information in that regard.
Turns out this book is about Trust Agents on the web as opposed to within an organization. However, given that the tools of Web 2.0 and beyond are becoming weaved into our work and personal lives, I decided to give it a spin anyway.
Following is a chapter by chapter look at the book with bullet point style comments from me about what each chapter contains:
Trust, Social Capital and Media
While we live in a world that is more mistrusting, there exist online those who we view as credible and relevant. These people have been able to build trust by being present, in a very human way, on the web and continuously mastering the digital highways. The internet is a powerful medium because it works 24x7 - you give a live speech to an audience once, you put it on YouTube you give the speech over and over again to new audiences. This chapter has some useful tips for continuously monitoring the web for items of importance to you.
Make Your Own Game
The internet provides a way to change the rules of the game. The internet is an opportunity to change the rules, or in the authors terms “gatejumping” the current “gatekeepers”. Games have three stages: playing, hacking, programming.
One of Us
The trust equation (which ironically the authors cite from the The Trusted Advisor, a book I thought this would be equivalent to)
(Credibility x Reliability x Intimacy) / Self-Orientation = Trust
Lots of suggestions in this chapter about on-line etiquette, how-to make friends, making public discourses, and how not to be scummy.
Archimedes Principle
Leveraging the power of the internet, things to stop and start, some useful sites.
Agent Zero
This is the principle centering around connecting otherwise unconnected groups, being the force to get two others together in beneficial ways. How-to, do’s and don’ts about connecting others.
Human Artist
How to be human in a digital way. The Golden Rule is still important. Tips on how to use popular social network services like facebook, twitter, etc.
Build an Army
The power of the internet to leverage information, social networks, and other items. Written before the events in Egypt and others, but the content in this chapter speaks to those situations.
The Trust Agent
Final listing of tips, suggestions, and activities to further on-line activity in the spirit of the preceding chapters.

My Take On The Book:
This blog exists is due to this book, in that it was basic enough for relative web novices such as myself to feel confident enough to begin exploring in far greater depth what the web might and might not be able to accomplish.
Each chapter contains suggestions and recommendations which can be acted upon almost immediately, without any complicated or lengthy preparation or prior activities.
The author’s underlying tone throughout the book is focused on the positive aspects of simply being human, being who you are, and coming to an understanding on what to do with that information is apparent, and this indeed makes them Trust Agents in my opinion.
I rate this book 5 stars out of 5
I would love to hear your thoughts about Trust Agents or your stories on this topic if you have them.
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