In a plane to Europe, I have just read Chris Brogan and Julien Smith new book, Trust Agents.
I do not know Julien much (now I want to know him better) but Chris is a very good friend that I have been also enjoying amazing content from for years, so obviously I had high expectations for Trust Agents and I was not disappointed.
I will from now on recommend people who ask me why they should use social software and build their online brand to read it. Most of you who are using social networks daily will think most of Chris and Julien expressed is common sense but it is still an entertaining read and opportunity to learn. Most of what we do daily is common sense as Chris himself tweeted recently, but it takes work to express it in an organized way.
It does not focus on the tools, but on the human aspects on why you should build your community and how you should behave and approach it to become succesful online.
Being "One Of Us".
Chris and Julien describe a Trust Agent mostly as a state of mind. I feel that way, too. There are the ones who get it and the others. There are the ones we really want to hangout with or work with and the others. For example, there are people obsessed with sending you press releases and getting you to talk about their products or services as soon as possible and the ones who share and help you daily without asking for anything in return. Very different states of mind that Chris and Julien recognize are still not widespread in business, especially in this recession world where efficiency and speed come first. Building your community and becoming a Trust Agent takes much more time than buying a google adsense ad for sure, but is much more important long term both for your personal and business brand.
There is huge value in Social capital, Chris and Julien explain, and I agree. "Capital is usually defined as "any for of wealth capable of being employed in the production of more wealth". The authors explain that while social capital is different from other forms of capital, it is a form of wealth. "Buying somebody a cup of coffee is a real exchange of value, and it can at some point be repaid".
Play your life like a game.
I really enjoyed this section of the book where the authors suggest you see your own life like a video game. It helps you see things in a much more fun way (life isn't that fun most of the time, so it might require some imagination when things go really bad though!). Have goals like in a game, compete with others in a friendly way, get feedback and interact. Hacking your life like a game is getting popular too, follow Tim Ferriss to learn more about that!
(CxRxI)/4 = T the formula of trust
I loved the idea, here are the definitions read the book for more
It's not who you know, it's who knows you
Chris and Julien insist on sharing as much as possible, be focused on helping others and long term it will pay back. If you get a question by email or a thought with a friend that you feel can be interesting for others, share it, tweet it, blog it, record a video, anything that makes it available to anyone online. Leaving regularly small pieces of help, as small as sharing an interesting link, will help others discover you, trust you and know you. One day they might help you in return, in fact it is likely they do. Never would have LeWeb, my conference in Paris, become a 2,000 people and 35 countries event should I have not been helped that much by my online friends. From finding a job to launching a new product there is no other choice in our low attention world than becoming visible by sharing and helping others.
Congratulations to Chris and Julien, I know what it takes to write a book as I wrote two myself in French and will probably write another one when, I hope, Seesmic is a success and leaves me more time to write.
In the meantime, I am trying to get back to traditional blogging with longer blog posts in the middle of the tweets river.