I’m listening to the audible version of Trust Agents, and I get it. Instead of being behind the 8 ball on this whole technology front, it’s actually the life I’ve been living all along. Only now it’s virtual, and I need only learn the mechanics behind it.
It’s a small town, where, within your own network, everybody “knows” everybody – if they are personable and want to be known.
It’s where you do nice things because that’s what friends do: help each other out. Except instead of bringing over tomatoes from the garden, you may throw in a link to a buddy’s site, a job lead, or a cool tip, story, journal review, funny clip. It’s the give and take of information, tips, advice, references. It’s talking at the bus stop, catching up over the fence – except that fence just got a whole lot bigger. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith spell it out in their book: when you’re a ‘recipient of a favor, it’s in our nature to want to pay it back.’
This web-world is not so different after all. In fact, staying home to take care of the kids may have perfectly aligned me to reenter the workforce better prepared for the new business model than I had ever anticipated. Perhaps, according to Trust Agents’ Brogan and Smith, I may fit in quite nicely. Because in the world of the social credibility, you do the nice thing, the right thing, without any expectation of something in return. And low and behold, before you know it, people will be doing the same for you.