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.
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. :)
We’re getting a ton of comments from people on Chris’ blog right now about the title, and how it’s not something people will understand– I see that, and we’re still working on it. But the concept is there, and the people that do this are real. The rest is details. :)