Productive Catholic Book Review: Trust Agents

Originally, I was hesitant to do book reviews on this blog because I wasn’t sure if they were appropriate for it’s theme. But after reading Trust Agents, my tune was changed. In fact, this particular book – while its direct subject is not productivity – it indirectly teaches its readers to leverage social media to accomplish projects more efficiently than can ever be done otherwise. For that, I thought it necessary to write about it.

we all have to trust each other

Photo by notsogoodphotography

Why Bother with Social Media

I’ve had a Facebook account for almost 2 years now.  I thought that it was a great way to reunite with old friends and find out what they have been doing over the years, but I didn’t care too much to know that they were going to the mall, watching a movie with friends, or changing their children’s diapers;  Nor, did I care to let my friends know what I was doing at every second of every day.  The constant barrage of status updates and invitations were of no value to me, and quite honestly annoying.  Time is what I value most in life, and I was not about to waste it.

I purchased Trust Agents on the recommendation of bloggers that I admire, and upon reading the first few pages I was met dose of reality: I have been wasting time for 2 years.  Whether you like it or not, social media is the new revolution in communicating and getting things done.  Relationships that you build through major social networking sites are not empty; Rather, they are an amazingly effective way of gaining knowledge, building your professional reputation, and creating an army of like-minded individuals that can help you to syngergistacally achieve your goals.

cover to trust agents for the book reviewRelationships Are the New Market

Before the social media, entrepreneurs and big businesses marketed themselves like battering rams at the gates of your potential patronage.  They would hammer away via commercials and advertisements that told you of their greatness and how you needed their product like a fish needs water.  Now, these same people – through the advent of social media – are no longer high and mighty intelligentsia looking for a buck, but are like-minded individuals in the same boat as the rest of us.  Producer and consumer now have a new relationship of sorts – one of pseudo-friendship (and sometimes real friendship).

By taking social media seriously, within a matter of 2 weeks I have connected with several successful entrepreneurs and business professionals that I would have never communicated with before such as Guy Kawasaki (who follows me on Twitter.  How sweet is that?), Jun Loayza, Jenny Blake from Google, and others.  Under old media marketing, these folks would view me as a potential sale.  But under the new social media there is a relationship of mutual purpose, respect, and a sense that we need each other to achieve our goals.  Would I buy products from these people, almost without hesitation.  However, it is not because they convinced me of how great their gadget was, but because I trust them.

Getting Things Done Via Social Media

The beauty of social media lies in its efficient means of simultaneous action by multiple individuals.  Since reading Trust Agents, I have had a variety of instances in which I have been able to leverage the knowledge and actions of others to do things that would otherwise take hours or even days.  Whether it is requesting book recommendation or asking friends to take action on a particular project of mine, the results have been astounding.  For example, just this week I sent an email to my pastor asking if I could redesign his parish’s shabby website.  After I sent off the email, I let my friends know what I had done.  I now have a multitude of very persuasive God-fearing ladies poised to mention to the pastor that the Church’s website needs a facelift and that they know just the guy that can do it.

Summary

Overall, the book is a great introduction to the power and the possibilities of social networking.  I highly recommend it to anyone, who like me at one point, finds the whole concept confusing or not worth using.  Like those who witnessed the birth of radio and television and refused to take advantage of their respective potential, those who ignore the new social media will find themselves one day chasing after a wagon that long left them behind.

Note to my Catholic Brothers and Sisters: We are in a new age of communication and evangilization.  The power and opportunity that is possible by embracing social media is only just being explored.  As our late Pope John Paul the II urged, we need to use the media – and especially the new media – to reach a greater audience.  I’m so glad to see so many Catholics on Twitter and other social networking mediums, but we need more.  Don’t hesitate to give me a follow, and I will follow you back.

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