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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 8. The Trust Agent

Art, Business, the Web, and Humans

Business, it feels, is becoming an art. Financial collapses across several industries hit the U.S. economy in 2008, and the entire world rolled into 2009 with even more troubles. Many organizations are still scrambling to keep afloat. On top of this, print journalism in the Western world is collapsing because advertising isn't supporting it anymore. Television and radio aren't exactly reporting record-making quarters, either. Companies need to evolve.

This is an amazing and unique time. Attention is scarce. The established leaders in many business segments have toppled or are on the ropes. The Internet has leveled the distribution playing field for media, merchandise, communication, location, and many other areas. It's at once scary and ideal, ideal because this is where trust agents excel.

The Web and new media give you the opportunity to reveal the human side of your business. Consumers can carry on conversations with brands like the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Whole Foods, Home Depot, or even Hardees foods via the web and its social networks. Not in the last 50 years or more has the balance of business interaction and communication been so in favor of smaller, more personal interactions than it is right now. Yes, some larger corporations continue to grind on and pay no attention to the little people, but that's not the norm.

Where will this all take us? We've shared with you six lessons to help you navigate this ...

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