Book/Literature Reviews

Book Review: Are You An Evaluation Trust Agent? Part 2

Now for some additional thoughts gleamed from the authors of Trust Agents

This post More on Trust Agents was written by Julian Smith, the other half of the best seller Trust Agents before the book was published…

–So, Trust Agents.

Since Chris came out earlier today to write about what our book would be called, I figured I would add some of my comments. I won’t speak for Chris here, since he’ll probably go into detail on his own, but here’s what the phrase means to me.

1. Trust agents deal in social capital, which I see as a vague, undefined– but nonetheless very real– currency. I talked about this a while ago on my blog, and then promptly forgot about it. I revisited the audio this morning, and it seems like I had the seeds of this idea all the way back in February of 2007. Here it is in case you’re interested. (<—-podcast done on Smith’s walk to a bar one night, interesting self dialogue and slightly humorous in some areas)

2. If social capital is the currency of the web, trust agents are people that understand how it works through their understanding of how people work on the web (how they join together, how they come to trust others, etc). They do this, at all times, with *people* in mind, not profit.

3. Trust agents know how trust and influence work, but they *do not* take advantage of people– not only because it’s against their nature, but because it doesn’t work. They know that there are no secrets on the web, and everything is uncovered eventually, so taking advantage of people doesn’t make sense, and they don’t do it.

4. Trust agents develop trust and influence for some purpose; some do it for other companies (ie, Scoble did it with Microsoft), and some do it for themselves. It’s the use of the methods that define what a trust agent is, not where the trust is eventually going.

5. I dunno… other stuff. 🙂

The About section on Smith’s blog  In Over Your Head says the following about his craft “…his work draws from a deep study of the adaptive ability of the human body, as well as evolution, biomimicry, and an observation of nature.”

Again, I’ve highlighted a few areas that stood out to me…

What’s my social capital? Do I deal in social capital? If not, how can I for the purpose of helping non evaluators to understand the world of evaluation? How can I broaden the scope, and get eval outside of that dreaded box?

How is trust formed over the web? In person? Where do the two intersect and differ? What specific actions can I take to work on these?

Can any of my evaluation work be viewed as taking advantage of people?

What methods can I use to become a trust agent?

*super excited about this*

Can you tell?


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