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Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Julien Smith, Chris Brogan

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Chapter 3. One of Us

Who Is This Geek, and Why Is He Famous?

The year is 2004. The nicest thing anyone has to say about Microsoft is that they're "The Borg" (a Star Trek reference, in case you're not one of us). At this very same time, Robert Scoble is wandering around the halls of Microsoft causing all kinds of havoc, and he's blogging. Not just blogging, but publicly talking smack about Microsoft, his own company, online.

This makes Scoble one of the very first (if not the first) trust agents ever on the World Wide Web.

Scoble wasn't just idly throwing rocks at his employers. He was blogging about serious issues Microsoft and its end users were experiencing. Scoble wrote that the Internet Explorer Web browser wasn't nearly as good as Firefox, its upstart competitor. He was right, but that didn't mean that any of us thought he would say it, especially after we saw that he didn't get fired.

Imagine this: There's a crowd of people reading his blog—all these tech geeks, business types, and Microsoft enthusiasts—and they all read Scoble's post (there were others, but this one stuck). What came next was this: People began eating up everything he said. If his very next blog post had praised Notepad as "the the best app ever," his readers probably would have said, "You're so right!" People came to trust him.

Scoble was on our side. He had proven that he was One of Us. Scoble says:

The principle behind what I learned came out of when I helped run a variety of retail stores in the 1980s in Silicon ...

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