Trust Agents Review

@Kevin

I finally finished Trust Agents over Thanksgiving. Wow, I made it sound like it was a multi-edition book series or that I was a horribly slow reader the way I phrased that.

Let me give you a little background information about me. I like to read a lot, I read about 4-5 books at a time but the books are all placed in different rooms. There is a book in the living room, bedroom, the bathroom (of course), and one in my travel bag. Trust Agents was in my travel bag and it was a victim of me only traveling a few times since it came out. (Once a book ends up in it’s “spot” it doesn’t move from it.)

Personally I am happy that I didn’t plow through it or spew out a review right away without really reading it. If you look at some of the early reviews posted by people you have to question if people ever actually cracked the book. Kind of like tween girls reviewing the latest Twilight movie before it even hits the theatres. This is kind of a compliment to Chris and Julien that they have built up such a strong network that social media people revere them in that way. (I think I just compared Chris and Julien to shirtless male vampires that girls act completely irrational about… Is that a good or bad thing?)

What I liked about Trust Agents

1) The conceptual strategy- Chris and Julien do a really good job on explaining an approach to social media and the conceptual thought process behind how to use it. When people start out in social media a lot of the time they get bogged down by the tools instead of understanding that the strategy is more important.

2) Actionable items sprinkled in- Throughout the books they insert actionable items like setting up listening tools, which I think is helpful for people. This balances out the conceptual ideas a little bit with HOW to actually do things. Telling people that they need to listen before jumping into social media is one thing. Explaining how to do it after telling them they should be doing it is another.

3) References to some great books- I know from following Chris that he reads often and it shows in this book referencing a lot of different books that range from marketing to sociology based. The academic in me enjoyed that a lot. (I don’t mean to single out Chris here, I am sure Julien reads and that some of the suggestions are his but I don’t follow him as closely as Chris.)

What I didn’t like about Trust Agents

1) The “voice” it was written in- You know the first time you ever heard the Beastie Boys, The WuTang Clan, or the New Kids on the Block you couldn’t really determine who was on the microphone I felt like that when reading the book. They refer to each other or are they referring to themselves from a different point of view… It really felt awkward reading it.

2) Some of the same old social media examples- This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to people writing about social media. I realize that I am not in the target market for this book, this is written more towards someone with little to no knowledge of social media so they won’t necessarily know about these examples. But Chris and Julien talk about Comcast, Dell Hell, Robert Scoble, and the latest overused example Gary Vaynerchuk (who has replaced “Will it Blend” as the go to video example).

I totally acknowledge that these are solid examples to use but with Chris’s experience and the clients he deals with I find it disappointing that they fell back on these examples. Personally I picked up the book to learn not to hear the same examples used over and over. Chris and Julien did present SOME examples that I haven’t heard of, which is great. Having said that, reading the examples that seem to be in EVERY social media book was disheartening to see. They have become a crutch at this point to bloggers and social media authors, it needs to stop… please.

Overall would I recommend this book? To someone starting out in social media I would. To someone who has more than a basic understanding I am not sure if you are in the target audience or someone who would gain a lot from reading it. Of the beginner type books I think that they do a really solid job of talking about concepts while giving actionable items and not getting sucked into talking about tools.

What did you think of Trust Agents?

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