Featured: An Excerpt from Trust Agents

We’re very pleased to feature this excerpt from Chris Brogan’s and Julien Smith’s new book, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

According to the book’s introduction, the authors promise to “answer to the question, ‘‘What do I do now?’’ It is full of actionable information, supported by research and strategies, studies, and an explanation of the thought process behind what we do on the Web. We love all the great ‘‘idea’’ books out there, and we do have lots of ideas packed in here as starting points. In addition to these, we give you actionable tasks you can execute.” We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

The Trust Agent : Art, Business, the Web, and Humans

Business, it feels, is becoming an art. Financial collapses across several industries hit the U.S. economy in 2008, and the entire world rolled into 2009 with even more troubles. Many organizations are still scrambling to keep afloat. On top of this, print journalism in the Western world is collapsing because advertising isn’t supporting it anymore. Television and radio aren’t exactly reporting record-making quarters, either. Companies need to evolve.

This is an amazing and unique time. Attention is scarce. The established leaders in many business segments have toppled or are on the ropes. The Internet has leveled the distribution playing field for media, merchandise, communication, location, Insurance Quotes and many other areas. It’s at once scary and ideal, ideal because this is where trust agents excel.

The Web and new media give you the opportunity to reveal the human side of your business. Consumers can carry on conversations with brands like the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Whole Foods, Home Depot, or even Hardees foods via the web and its social networks. Not in the last 50 years or more has the balance of business interaction and communication been so in favor of smaller, more personal interactions than it is right now. Yes, some larger corporations continue to grind on and pay no attention to the little people, but that’s not the norm.

Where will this all take us? We’ve shared with you six lessons to help you navigate this space. Do you need to be a trust agent to do business in the modern world? Of course not. Many people will do their jobs without thinking about any of this. Most of those jobs exist inside cubicles, with little in the way of entrepreneurial thought required and with a strong sense that someone else is steering the ship.

We think you’re different. Maybe you’ve got the notion that you are capable of doing things better, that you have it in you to master these new radios. You may want to discover what others are doing to build trust and earn attention so you can apply it to your career.

As we wrap up the book with this final chapter, we want to discuss some stuff one last time and from some slightly different perspectives. The thing is, you can’t for a moment think what you’ve read in the previous chapters is static information. This is a book, after all. By the time you’re holding this in your hands, there already have been significant changes on the web, and that’s if you bought this book the first week it came out (and if you did, thank you very much, and we owe you a cookie).

So, once more, we bring you our thoughts on the trust agent.