Chris Brogan, Trust Agents and Social Media: Old-Fashioned Common Sense


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation made my Chris Brogan.  Through Thursday you can purchase a DVD of the eventChristine Taylor and JTMar partnered with Stage Post Studios to not only make Chris available in person to several hundred Nashvillians, but they also streamed the event online, including incorporating questions via Twitter and by phone all in real time.  Everyone in attendance also receive an autographed copy of Chris’ new book Trust Agents, written with Julien Smith.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agents

Photo credit, affiliatesummit

The name Chris Brogan has become synonymous with all things social media.  Many consider him to be the authority on the subject and the single best example for individuals desiring to be viewed as thought leaders and influencers and for companies hoping to more intimately connect with customers.

Needless to say, none of us were disappointed.  However, I did find myself continually thinking, “This all sounds so familiar.”  Chris himself mentioned more than once that so much of what works in the online world is truly nothing more than good ol’ fashioned common sense.  Help other people first.

I think Zig Ziglar said it best years ago:  “You can get everything in life you want, if you can just help enough other people get what they want.”  You could even go back a little further.  Remember the Golden Rule?  To paraphrase, it says, in essence, treat other people the way you yourself desire to be treated.  Or, as Chris so succinctly puts it,  exercise some “common sense.”

Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents

Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents

Photo credit, affiliatesummit

It shouldn’t be hard, right?  Yet every day, each of us finds ourselves interacting with someone who has either failed to understand it, or understands it and is simply choosing to ignore it (maybe, heaven forbid, it’s that person in the mirror).  The best illustration I’ve ever heard that really helped to put this into perspective came from Chris yesterday.

Imagine someone you’re being introduced to for the first time has just reached out to shake your hand.  You oblige and then waste no time as you stick your tongue in their mouth.

As extreme as that sounds, it’s essentially what so many who don’t “get it” are doing every day.  How many times do you receive a friend request on Facebook (or a “follow” on Twitter or, name your platform) from someone you don’t know – and who hasn’t taken the time to even include a personal message of introduction – that is soon followed by a note about what services or product they offer that you might be interested in?

If you’ve ever chatted with someone with experience waiting tables, you’re likely to find they view the Sunday “after church” crowd as one of the worst group of tippers around (at least that’s what my anecdotal research reveals).  In some cases, the waiter or waitress is more likely to find a tract (a plan of salvation) than a tip once the table empties (just what the world needs: Christians who go around sticking their tongues in people’s mouths).

I’m embarrassed to admit that 25 years ago, as a young believer, I actually did this.  Mind you, I left a tip too, but apparently had no problem with leaving a stranger’s eternal destination up to a piece of paper.  As far as I was concerned, I’d fulfilled my obligation.  If the message didn’t sink in, that was their problem.  Investing in people’s lives was hard.  This was so much easier.  “Hurray, I planted another seed,” I told myself.

Did any of them take root?  The evidence is weak at best.  Let’s just say that if and when I get to heaven, I doubt there will be anyone eager to shake my hand.

This post is dedicated to my grandfather, William Otis Holladay, who, at 91, passed away earlier today.  A veteran of World War II, he was the epitome of common sense.  I have no doubt that in heaven, there is a long line ready to greet him.

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7 Responses

  1. thanks jeff for the reflective thought. i didn’t grow up in a denom & time that put any real emphasis on the tract evangelism (in fact i had to look it up a few years ago on the net cause i never heard of them) as i read some stories on people doing that. your reflection is a great mirror for many to look at that relationships take time, take effort, and are generally messy in nature, but they are so worth it in leading people to find a life with Christ.

    it was great meeting you finally yesterday. look forward to more meet ups and conversations. shalom, -gav

    btw: what do you get when you cross a methodist with a jehovah’s witness?… someone who will knock on your door but not say anything.
    &:~D

  2. […] Post by The Jeff Browne on Chris Brogan […]

  3. Thanks Gavin. I appreciate your kind words and really enjoyed finally meeting you face to face as well. I was showing off your business card at lunch today. Nice.

  4. Well written and thoughtful, Jeff. I wasn’t able to make the event, will have to pick up the DVD.

    My condolences on the passing of your granddad. The love between you two is obvious.

  5. Thanks Bill, on both counts. Looking forward to Donald Miller in November.

  6. […] Chris Brogan, Trust Agents and Social Media: Old Fashioned Common Sense […]

  7. HA! You crack me up! I admittedly am one of those former servers who has talked smack about the after-church customers. I hated working 1st shift on Sundays. Whenever I would tell people about this experience I would usually throw in the line, “They had just given their 10% to God so they didn’t want to give me anything.” There were times that I would get some type of literature instead of a tip. The WORST example of this being a pamphlet that was disguised to look like a folded $20 bill. Imagine my excitement to see a $20 tip only to find that it was a freakin pamphlet! I’m no longer jaded about it but I will say that it put a *sour* taste in my mouth for a long time after.

    People, not just Christians, need to realize that we are representing more than just ourselves wherever we go. Whether we like it or not, we are constantly being judged and scrutinized. As a father, I have to constantly realize that my words and actions are an example to my children. They are looking to me as an example for how they will act as a human. Scary thought, but an interesting thought would be to think that we can live our lives as examples of being a good human … to other humans! Crazy!

    Really enjoying your blog this morning. Finally getting around to diving in and I like what I see. Cheers!

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