Long before I met Chris Brogan, I felt like I knew the guy. I'd read his blog for years, and followed his tweetstream. I interviewed him for my podcast. At every turn, the man appeared genuinely enthusiastic about the wild, blossoming frontier of social media, and -- more important -- genuinely enthusiastic in hearing what others had to say about it. I finally met him at South By Southwest 2008, and the dude was as kindhearted and enthusiastic in person as he is online. I shook hands with a dozen-dozen social media "superstars" that weekend, and Chris was one of only three who treated me as more than another damned hand to shake. There's a difference between being confident and drinking your own Kool-Aid; Chris Brogan is a sterling example of the former.
Through his experience, ever-growing expertise (and willingness to share that expertise) and good humor, Chris Brogan earned my trust. What he says has value, and he made it clear to me and thousands more that what we say has value to him.
Trust -- more than the dollar, the yen, or the euro -- is the world's most important currency. Without it, productive relationships and transactions simply cannot happen. Without it, there is no valuable "signal" to what people say, or to the products they offer. There is only brain-wracking noise.
Chris wrote a book with Julien Smith. It's called Trust Agents. It was released in bookstores today. It's about using social networks to help businesses succeed ... though I'm certain its core principles of trust-building can be applied well beyond the cubicle. I haven't read a word of the book, but I've already purchased two copies (one for me, and one for my employer), and will likely buy more in the weeks ahead.
You may not know Chris and Julien's work, but you know and probably trust me ... and you know that I rarely share such earnest endorsements. I'm no sycophant; I'm a person who quests for rational, relevant, resonant information. For years, Chris and Julien have delivered, and I trust they have delivered in this book.