Had enough of Trust Agents buzz yet? I have. Let’s see if the reality matches the hype.
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’ve read previous works that Trust Agents builds on, like Tribes, New Rules of Marketing and PR, Cluetrain Manifesto, The Whuffie Factor, Chris Brogan’s blog, etc. expect Trust Agents to be more or less a derivative work with a few different case studies.
If you are not a trusted member or leader of your community, Trust Agents is for you. The nearest trusted person in your community, if you’re very lucky, will buy the hardcover edition, laminate it with granite, and then beat you over the head with it until [a] you get it or [b] your forehead resembles chunky salsa. Either way, we all win.
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.
The people who need to get a clue about how to manage trust, how to behave in a trustworthy fashion, how to create value instead of simply broadcasting the same crappy commercial message over and over again, probably won’t pick up the book. Ideally, all the buzz and hype will convince them it’s a must read, even if they don’t have a clue why they’ve got a copy on their desk. It’s your obligation if you work for one of these people to either make them read the book or commit homicide with it via blunt trauma.
There are a great many little things in Trust Agents that, if you’re trustworthy, should be annoying. “How to earn trust” and “how to behave in a community” sound like they were written for 6 year olds. Your inner voice as a trusted person should be saying, “DUH!” and “Is that really all there is to this book?” and the answer is yes, because you know these lessons. You’ve internalized them, you practice them daily, and you don’t need them as reminders any more than you need reminders not to shoplift at the grocery store. For the used car salesman at your office, at your business, on your salesforce, in your community, these lessons are probably the closest thing to divine revelation that they’ll get this week. Sad, but true.
In the end, if you read this blog, if you listen to Marketing Over Coffee, if you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably already a reasonably trustworthy person and you’re not going to get much out of Trust Agents. Like I said, it’s not for you. Buy it anyway, skim it, and then force it down the throat of your pointy haired boss as fast as you can.
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