Chris Brogan on Becoming an Agent Zero, Promiscuous Networkers and Content Creation Secrets
Susan Bratton

Episode 113 - Chris Brogan on Becoming an Agent Zero, Promiscuous Networkers and Content Creation Secrets

Trust Agents author Chris Brogan shares his strategies, tips and opinions on a wide range of subjects including:

  • How to build a social listening station for free.
  • Twitter link tracking preferences.
  • Video blog techniques.
  • Time saving content creation tips.
  • Keeping clean on reviewer products.
  • Real life networking tips.
  • Creating velvet rope communities.
  • His sinful, guilty pleasure.

Find out how the #2 marketing blogger in the world manages his time, produces his content and then get the lowdown on his new book, "Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust."



Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host Susan Bratton, and on today’s show you’re going to get to meet Chris Brogan, if you don’t already know him ‘cause he’s one of those everywhere kind of guys and you’re going to learn about his secrets for being everywhere. Chris is the president of New Marketing Labs, which is the company that also works with Cross Tech Media to produce the Inbound Marketing Summits. He’s also one of the cofounders of the Pod Camps, and I know I have a lot of podcaster followers listening to the show, so he’s a Pod Camp guy. He is also an Ad Age Power 150 blogger. As a matter of fact, I checked today and he’s the number two advertising and media industry blogger right after Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch. He’s also part of the Technorati 100 bloggers, and he is the coauthor of a brand new book that we’re going to talk about today among a million other things ‘cause I got a lot of questions for Chris; it’s called Trust Agents. It’s coauthored with Julian Smith. Trust Agents: Using the Web To Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust. And we’re going to talk about some fun things like becoming an Agent Zero; I bet you probably already are. So lets get Chris on the show. Welcome Chris.


Chris Brogan: Thank you so much for having me. I’m grateful and excited to hear such a fun-filled intro. It’s, you know, it’s a lot of numbers and stats though. Maybe I should just say things like I invented a helicopter.


Susan Bratton: Ooh, that’d be fun. Lets go for a flight. If you could fly your helicopter anywhere in the world right now, where would you fly it? I have an idea.


Chris Brogan: Well I love New Finland. I’d love to go to St. John’s New Finland. If not there, I would go to Vermont to the Northern Kingdoms.


Susan Bratton: That sounds beautiful. What are the Northern Kingdoms?


Chris Brogan: The Northern Kingdoms are what they call this sort of part up at the top of Vermont right before it becomes Canada, and it’s just beautiful, lots of lakes, lots of trees, lots of silence and people with crazy opinions about life.


Susan Bratton: Mm, that sounds great. I want you to fly me in a helicopter over the Great Wall of China.


Chris Brogan: You know, that would kind of work…


Susan Bratton: Yeah.


Chris Brogan: I’ve got a feeling that the next scene would be that we’d be shot down and we’d need Tom Cruise to come save us, it’d be terrible.


Susan Bratton: I love Tom Cruise. That’d be alright with me, he’s totally cute. Little short for me though, Chris.


Chris Brogan: Pre screaming on the couch Tom Cruise or post screaming on the couch Tom Cruise?


Susan Bratton: Pre, definitely. So Chris Brogan, New Marketing Labs. You are the creator of the Inbound Marketing Summits; I just came to the one in San Francisco. You had a fantastic lineup. And before we get into Trust Agents and your book I want to know what the most interesting insight was that you gleaned from one of your speakers at the last Inbound Marketing Summit.


Chris Brogan: I’m sure the thing that we heard the most of from people was almost a repetition of the idea that you really need to listen before you can do anything else. Listening is the new marketing, and we found that most people were also echoing this in their presentations, and then the vendors that we selected to be part of this show. So we had a quite a all around experience where in which people using listening tools was far more interesting to talk about than people using blogging tools or even community platforms.


Susan Bratton: Okay. And one of the things that you start out with in Trust Agents is, right off the bat, like page 15 you actually give step by step instructions about building a listening station. Now obviously people are going to buy the book and they’re going to read that, but just explain what that is so that everybody gets what you’re saying.


Chris Brogan: The way I use the listening tools is I take something like Google Reader and I use it to type in searches, Google Blog Search searches, Twitter searches, and some other sources like All Pop, and I use those to start to figure out who’s talking about my client, who’s talking about their competitor, who’s talking about all these other services and products and I use that to start understanding where I should go out and have a conversation, what can I address, how can I talk to people who are talking about me or about my client, and I use that as a way to do it for free and cheap. Just a step above that, you can pay a couple of dollars a month and you can use a professional service. You can use Techergy or Scout Labs or Radian Fix. There’s lots of these companies out there now, Cisamos, Crimson Hexagon and, you know, I can make you go blind hearing about them but…


Susan Bratton: Right.


Chris Brogan: There’s lots of ways to listen, and once you start doing it the next real most important question is “Now what?” and how are you going to respond and are you going to own up to it when people are complaining about you or are you going to hide and wait for just the people who praise you?


Susan Bratton: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of conversations about managing the, you know, managing the listening. The question I have about the Google Reader is kind of a specific technical one. So Dave Taylor taught us how to create a custom search query with the quotation marks on all our key words and the ‘or’ statements between it, and then bookmark that, so anytime we click the bookmark it just pulls all the searches from Twitter and displays it in our browser window. Are you saying that we can do that same kind of thing? It’s not just for, it’s not just an RSS feed reader? Like I go to your blog, I save your link, I put that into my, you know, little blue plus sign box on Google Reader, and then your blog posts always end up in my reader. I get how to subscribe to an RSS feed; what I don’t understand is what you’re saying, which I think is that I can actually program all my keyword, my keyword glossary into my Google Reader and it’ll go out and search and pull back everything?


Chris Brogan: Not exactly…


Susan Bratton: Okay.


Chris Brogan: So if you are using Google Search or Google News Search or Technorati Search or any of these, you might not have noticed, but every single time it brings back your results it also gives you an RSS feed for you to subscribe to. You can subscribe to that query and have it dropped into your Google Reader box and it’s fresh as often as they ping those services, so it’s just as fresh as going to the site and doing the search terms. So it’s, you go to, you put in this really complex query that Dave showed you how to do, and then it’ll spit back an RSS feed that you then copy and drop into your Google Reader so that it just becomes a saved search to which you have subscribed. Does that make more sense?


Susan Bratton: Yes. And it’ll refresh that all the time for me?


Chris Brogan As often as the service gets pinged.


Susan Bratton: Got it. Okay, so I don’t need to use Twitter Search anymore as a standalone bookmark, I can put it all in Google Reader, and I can do that with lots of stuff. I guess I just wasn’t looking for the RSS feed of search query terms, I didn’t realize that was there. That’s a really good little piece of data. That made the whole show worthwhile. Thank you.


Chris Brogan: Alright, I’m done, I’m just going to hang up then…


Susan Bratton: You are not leaving…


Chris Brogan: Yeah, I’m done.


Susan Bratton: You are not leaving and I know you can beat it, and that’s what we’re going to do for the rest of the show is keep beating your best thing. So here’s my next question: You talk in Trust Agents… You know, for Dishy Mix listeners, they totally get the Trust Agent thing. I think Trust Agents is a book for my listeners, clients, customers, friends, lovers and grandmas, because it’s a very clear and concise treatise on the way the world is now. But there’s one thing in there that I think would be helpful – there’s many things that I think would be helpful for Dishy Mix listeners – but the one was this idea of becoming an Agent Zero. Talk about that.


Chris Brogan: So we, in figuring out networking and all that we figured out that it was really interesting. There’s a theoretical number out there called Dunbar’s Number that suggests that…


Susan Bratton: Right.


Chris Brogan: you can only ever really have to maintain approximately a hundred and fifty social connections, and that’s the best you can do. And it’s interesting that we thought about it and we said, what if we were the one out of one-fifty of a whole bunch of different really high importance networks? So what if I am the agent at the baseline of the real estate group and I am an agent at the baseline of a higher education group and I’m an agent, you know, in the marketing of music group or whatever. So by finding similar but different groups what I’ve done is I’ve expanded out my ability to network with thousands and tens of thousands of people by being part of an associated to several big vast networks. Most people do it a different way, they do it by geography. We tend to know the people we’re near by. Or we know the people in our industry only. Julian and I have gone a totally different route in writing Trust Agents, and we decided that if you really work at it you can be connected to lots of people and lots of industries and that’ll be much more fruitful than being connected to a whole bunch of people industry or being connected to a whole bunch of people in your geography.


Susan Bratton: Yeah, there’s some kind of scientific proof, I forget what it is. Maybe… Who was telling me about that? Maybe Shiv Singh from Razorfish talking about how the people furthest out on your network actually make your network the most powerful, and not even geographically furthest, but like random other world people.


Chris Brogan: Oh absolutely. I mean, it’s definitely, if you think about it, if you have seventy different ways to get to one person, who cares. I want one way to get to seventy different people. So I’m always looking for those kinds of people who are, you know, avid connectors or promiscuous connectors who find lots of people that they like because then they always say, “Oh, I know that person who knows that person”, and that’s all we really need to get by in this life.


Susan Bratton: So you talk about managing, you know, a number of hundred and fifty person circles and getting a lot of connections and a lot of various circles, and I noticed recently in your latest email – ‘cause you have a really good email… Actually, every time I get your email you do it, you know, sporadically but sporadically enough so that it’s great and not too much, you always have a list of kind of hot new companies and things you’re thinking about, etcetera, so for listeners you can just go to, that’s his blog and you can sign up for his email newsletter there. I really encourage it. It is my favorite email newsletter that I get. You recently recommended something called Batch Book, because the problem is now that we’re super networkers, we have a network on Linked In, we have a different group of people on Face Book, we have a different group of people we’re following or followed by on Twitter, we have our personal database and all our business cards. You’re using Batch Book, tell us how that works.


Chris Brogan: It’s a very simple CRM type of software and it allows you to put in basically the same kind of contact information that you get anywhere. I like it better than Linked In because Linked In, as your main database, doesn’t allow you to do any kind of searching. It’s very, very messy as far as searching goes. Batch Book allows you to add tags to all the cards so that I can have you in all different kinds of piles, so I can have Susan in Podcasters, I can have Susan in Media, I can have Susan in, you know, West Coast. So I can do all kinds of things to slice and dice where you are, what you are, who you are to me, and then if I do that to all of my contacts, well then I can pop really fast lists together of people I want to contact for certain reasons and it allows me to do this an very kind of systematic and organized way. It also allows me to put all kinds of notes, to log the last time you and I talked, to do all kinds of things that allow me to say, “Oh, I’m really keeping as close a contact with you as I possibly can given my level of contacts. Gee, it looks like I haven’t said hi to you in a while.” What we do wrong in this space a lot – and I’ll just say we do it wrong – is we absorb each others media and we don’t talk to each other. You know, I’m listening to your podcast, so you must know I’m there. Well obviously that’s not true. So if you don’t reach out to the people who are making media, you run into trouble fast.


Susan Bratton: Scoble just did a post, I think this morning, he just unfollowed a bunch of people. I know you’ve done that recently. I do it all the time through – oh, what’s the little thing I use – Twitter Karma, that allows me to unfollow people that aren’t following me and then I go add people back. We’re all doing that now; as our followers get bloated we want to keep them more pure. Robert was talking about They’re based in Manhattan. They’ll come pick up your big old box of and scan them in and give you a CSV file that you can upload into all your networks to connect with people. I think that’s an interesting thing. I have a Card Scan card scanner. They were a sponsor of Dishy Mix for a while, which was awesome ‘cause I got us Card Scan scanner and a lot of people bought them. I spent a couple of hours scanning in over a hundred business cards from my Traveling Geeks Junkit to London this summer. My system froze, which it doesn’t do very often, it was totally random, and I lost all those scans. It froze just before I saved that file, I lost them all. Now I’m thinking I cannot bring myself to scan those cards back in. I’m going to send them to this Cloud Contacts and get them to make a CSV for me.


Chris Brogan: Yup. I’ve done the same thing. I’ve used a company called Shoe Boxed and…


Susan Bratton: Shoe Boxed.


Chris Brogan: I used them after I begged Batch Book to integrate with them. So I can actually send my cards the same way you’re talking about to a company called Shoe Boxed, and I can get them all scanned in, and then I can have them send the file directly to Batch Book and directly put into my platform without even thinking about it…


Susan Bratton: Nice.


Chris Brogan: I get the rubber band around the cards and get them tagged however I want upon entry so that I don’t even have to do that step if I don’t want. As much as it’s cool to use your own card scanner I’ve decided my time is worth more per hour to pay these guys a couple of bucks than it is for me to sit around and feed them in.


Susan Bratton: That’s exactly it. Alright, so Show Boxed is the one we want to use that works with Batch Books. The thing that I’m worried about with Batch Books is that like Plaxo there’s a ten thousand name limit on it, and I’ve got twelve thousand people in my database and I want them all, I know them all, I’ve met them all over the last twenty-five years. I’m not getting rid of my database ‘cause they can’t support it. How big a file – Batch Book won’t give me an answer – how big a file do you think they can support?


Chris Brogan: Well that’s a great question. I mean, mine’s coming up on ten thousand in that service and I think it’s going to handle it just fine. I haven’t seen any reason why it wouldn’t. But I guess I’ll find that out. I’ll get back to you with an answer for that one.


Susan Bratton: That’d be great. So there’s no, you haven’t seen any performance issues getting close to ten?


Chris Brogan: Oh my goodness, no. I put it through its paces when I use it. When I get in there I want to really kind of grind on my data….


Susan Bratton: Yeah.


Chris Brogan: And that’s the thing that Linked In doesn’t let me do and that’s the thing Plaxo doesn’t let me do. So I just port my contacts out of there and put them into a better format so that I can do better reading with it and searching.


Susan Bratton: Exactly. Yeah, the contact thing is getting to be a problem. It always has been for me. It’s been the bane of my existence as a kind of super networker. You know, I love everybody in the world and want to be…


Chris Brogan: Right.


Susan Bratton: connected to them. I’m just, that’s how I am. I like people, that’s why I do the show. I’ve never ever had a good situation for contact management in my entire business career, so it is definitely tough. I want to move on. I just joined your Trust Agents fan club in Face Book; I want to know how you’re using Face Book in the world of content creation, content syndication, promoting your brand, those pieces of what you do with Face Book.


Chris Brogan: You know, it’s really funny, we had quite an experience with this quite interesting time because we had… I mean, I wasn’t really into Face Book. I was really frustrated with it. It didn’t seem to be doing much for me except for people inviting me to play games and buy chomps and things like that. And I was actually talking to my friend Melize Rasho from Microsoft, and she was saying how she really loved what Volkswagen had done with their Face Book fan pages. And I went there and I looked at them and it was really neat, and I said, “Maybe I ought to give it a shot for the book.” So I pinged Julian, the coauthor, and he said, “Sure”. And next thing you know we start a group, and now we’re over two thousand…


Susan Bratton: Yeah.


Chris Brogan: fans and growing…


Susan Bratton: I noticed that.


Chris Brogan: And the reason…


Susan Bratton: Your book isn’t even launched Chris. You’ve got twenty-seven hundred or something fans for a book that’s not even out ‘til a couple weeks from now.


Chris Brogan: Well that’s because we’re using it to ask questions. We’re having conversations that have really nothing to do with the book directly, but that are really pertinent to peoples day to day lives, and so we’re having these great interactions, and people don’t… I mean the book becomes just a souvenir. We want you to buy the book, believe me, but it becomes like a twenty-dollar souvenir on a conversation you’ve been having for months with the two authors.


Susan Bratton: So let me skip to another thing Chris. Twitter and Face Book, I’m really interested in tracking the links I put in Twitter, that also by the way end up syndicated into my Face Book feed. I’ve been using Twit Power. I’ve heard that and Bud URL are now giving you the ability to look at some analytics on how many times people are clicking on the links you’re putting in your Twitters. What do you know about that?


Chris Brogan: Oh yeah, it works really well, and because is sort of the choice right now from Twitter as far as the for shortener, it used to be Tiny URL and now it’s It’s actually got lots of built in stats and it’s really easy to use; all you do is between the… it’s b-i-t, dot l-y, slash and then a hand full of messed up letters, all you do is you slide the word ‘info’ in between that and you get a sense of what people are typing and what they’re saying about it. So for example, I made a link to a web, a blog post that I wrote called Where To Buy Trust Agents, and I can tell how many people have clicked it, where the clicks are from, where the referrers are, where the locations are, etcetera, and I can do this all day, I can look at all of the links that I’ve cooked up in and have a sense of what people are doing with them. For example, I have a link to the Barnes and Noble listing of Trust Agents and it’s got two thousand clicks over the last little while. And it gives me a better sense that, oh Barnes and Noble’s pulling really hard, interestingly Amazon’s pulling even harder. I didn’t get my Border’s link in place soon enough, so it’s a little smaller, but it gives me a better sense of who’s clicking what in the online links, and it’s a great service and it’s a great way to kind of track things and get a better sense of where people are coming from.


Susan Bratton: Can you do a blog post on how you insert the info piece in and how you do that?


Chris Brogan: Well sure.


Susan Bratton: Because I think it’s a little hard for us to understand. It sounded to me like it wasn’t an automatic thing. It was like you had to go do a look up by putting info into it.


Chris Brogan: When you ask it to shorten a link it spits back the thing and says, “Here’s your short link.”


Susan Bratton: Yeah.


Chris Brogan: When you stick that into your web browser, stick it in your web browser and before you hit the enter button, right after the last l-y and then the slash and then the weird characters…


Susan Bratton: Yeah.


Chris Brogan: right after that l-y type the word ‘info’…


Susan Bratton: Okay.


Chris Brogan: add another slash, hit enter and it all pops up.


Susan Bratton: Okay. I’m going to try that.


Chris Brogan: So for example, it’s really interesting to note that fourteen hundred people clicked the link in an email or in some other kind of Adobe Air application. Face Book was (unintelligible). Right from, the website was only thirty-six, which tells you one thing…


Susan Bratton: Everybody’s using Tweet Deck and Seismic.


Chris Brogan: most people are using like Adobe Air apps instead.


Susan Bratton: Yeah, Tweet Deck and Seismic.


Chris Brogan: Yup, exactly so.


Susan Bratton: So we have to go to a break, but before we do can you take me through how you do a video and post it on your blog. So, you record, what do you, what camera do you use, what do you import it with, how do you upload it, where do you upload it, how do you stick it in your blog, and then, you know, do you syndicate that video content in any way? Like you just did a review of the new Kodak, you know, flip video killer camera; tell me that process.


Chris Brogan: So right now I’m using, for a process I’m using my laptop and I’m just using a iMovie inside of a Mac and recording live off of the little tiny camera on top of the laptop, and then I’m boiling it down to an mov file and uploading it to YouTube. I really like as well; I think Blip is a really good service and I think that they really care for their people. From time to time I’ve used Vidler as well. I think Vidler’s kind of nice out in Pennsylvania. For a handheld camera, I’ve been a big fan of the Flipmino forever. Not the Flipmino HD, but the Flipmino. But the folks at Kodak sent me a ZX1 and I’ve been trying that out just a little bit, and what I like a little differently is that they have removable media, removable batteries and some of that, and so I’m giving that a try to see if I like the way that Kodak does it a little better, so I can have a better sense of which one I would recommend to people.


Susan Bratton: So right now you’re essentially capturing the video in a number of ways, including directly from your Mac, putting it into iMovie, sharing it, clicking and uploading it to YouTube, and then grabbing the embed code and posting it in your blog post, is that what you’re doing?


Chris Brogan: Right. I’m sorry, I forgot the part about embed, yeah. I don’t use the automated type services to post on my blog post because I always find something that bothers me in the process. So instead I just do it by hand. I’d rather know that it lines up just fine.


Susan Bratton: Yeah, I’ve been using Moby Picture. Have you tried that yet? Give it a try. What I do is I actually use it a lot when I want to auto post images. I take a lot of pictures, and so I’ll take a picture, and when I type the title of it in it’ll automatically go to Twitter and it’ll automatically go to my Face Book page and put it in my photos, as well as make a blog post out of it. And it does support video, I just don’t do as much video yet. It’s worth a try.


Chris Brogan: No, it makes sense to me. I mean, it… I use video for a very intense, you know, a specific purpose. I use video because I like to use it to connect with people directly. I like to show my eyes to people, I like so that they see my face moving back and forth, there’s a couple reasons. One is I want them to easily recognize me at a conference. Two is I think it’s a different way to convey information and it gives me a better chance to make sure that people understand that there’s more than just what’s going on with my typing and that they understand my words and how that lines up to who I am.


Susan Bratton: Exactly. I want to go to a break. I also want to commend you before we head off to the break to thank my sponsors, you do a really nice job with listing all of the products and services that you receive complimentary in the ‘About’ section of your blog at I think I’m going to start doing that as well. It’s nice to see that they’re, you know, when we get free stuff we always say we got it free and then we do whatever we want to do and have our opinion about it as bloggers or podcasters, but I think having one location, the way you’ve created it there’s this catch place where you’ve listed everything that you’ve gotten so that you’re really clean about how you handle trials and review copies and products and things like that, that’s a real best practice I just wanted to commend you on.


Chris Brogan: I appreciate that. I think that what it does for me is it allows me to never have that moment where someone goes, “Oh yeah, well are you paid for it?”


Susan Bratton: Exactly.


Chris Brogan: I can point right away and say, “Here’s everything that I disclose…”
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Susan Bratton: Yeah.


Chris Brogan: you know.


Susan Bratton: It was really well done. So I encourage anyone who’s a blogger or a podcaster, getting, you know, review products, to look at what Chris does. We’re going to go to a break, and when we come back I want to talk more about dove tailing and nesting and time saving ideas that you use Chris for content creation. And I want to talk about some real life networking tips. And I want to talk about some velvet rope communities. And I want to talk about your sinful guilty pleasure, ‘cause I like it and it’s funny. So we’re with Chris Brogan. He’s the coauthor of a really great new book called Trust Agents, that I know you’ll really appreciate and get a lot out of. And he is of course also the blogger at I’m your host Susan Bratton. Stay tuned for more fun with Chris and Sus. We’ll be right back.


Susan Bratton: Alright, we’re back. Chris, so help us understand some more little tricks that you’re using to create better content and distribute it. I’ll give you an example. I’ve been using – and this may be one that you’re using or something like it – I’ve been using Zimanta in my Word Press blog as a plug in and Fire Fox extension. And when I write a blog post it pulls up images, links and related other pieces of content from my own blog, as well as out on the web that I can add to blog posts. It’s makes it super easy to have better blog posts and I love it. It’s a really great content creation too that I feel like puts me at another level of efficiency and effectiveness. What things like that are you using, both to create content, but also to make pushing out your content to different places easier and faster?
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Chris Brogan: Well it’s funny because I’m not much into the distribution part of my networking so far as I tend to put my primary content on my blogs. There’s a link that connects that to Face Book that lets people see it over there and I do get commentary over there. I dip into Friend Feed every now and again and make sure that I’m commenting back when people are talking there. But I’m not, I mean, different than a podcasting network, different than a media making network, I’m not really as interested in bringing my content everywhere as I am bringing my presence everywhere, and the difference being I want to be available to have conversations all over the web. I don’t much care if I am, you know, actually represented all over the web in that way. So that’s a slight difference. Another thing to talk about would be that with regards to making my content, I do it fairly old school to be honest. I use a Notepad type thing, I use Text Edit on Mac and write a lot of my blog posts on HTML when I’m on an airplane. The one big advice I’ll give you is that a habit of writing really helps you and a habit of reading really feeds your habit of writing. The more you can read in the morning the more you can hear peoples conversations, get a sense of what they’re talking about, the better chance you have at getting good content out there. The other thing is I’m a big fan of save it for a rainy day. Make sure you, you know, write more than one post at a time or record more than one podcast at a time, because there’s always going to be that time that you’re sick or there’s always going to be that time you’re traveling somewhere and you’re not going to be able to get your content out. If you can put a few in the can ahead of time, evergreen type stuff, then it gives you a much better chance to have content consistency and that matters a great deal to me. I think that people really respect and appreciate consistency in content creation.


Susan Bratton: I’m with you on consistency. I always talk about that. As a matter of fact, now I’ve been doing Dishy Mix since 2005, I started it out as AdTech Connect and morphed it into Dishy Mix, my own show. I brought it over to my network about, I don’t know, maybe a year and a half ago. There’s been a Dishy Mix every single week for the last, over the last hundred episodes, just on my own network alone. I agree with you about writing ahead. I do a lot of blog posts at a time and then I stage them to come out over time. I use Tweet Later to schedule Tweets that come out over time so I’m not like constantly just doing these huge lumpy chunky things when I can get to it. And I really like those kinds of scheduling tools.


Chris Brogan: I think that there’s some value in them. I’m not using them a whole lot myself in so far as I find that, you know, especially the Twitter type push them out later tools. I can see where there’s some value, especially again, as you’re running a network you want push, you know, that there’s a new episode coming out, another new episode post, etcetera. With Twitter I use it very human just because that’s what I’m there for. I’m there to connect and be personal. With the media making strategy, I mean that’s certainly a lot of sense right there. As far as getting more content to people, the other thing I do is I always have a search running for Flirkr for creative comments, photos that I’m allowed to use with attribution so that I always have a good source of great photos. I think that you’ll find that Zimanta does a great job of that for you as well, you probably use that feature.


Susan Bratton: I do. I love that about Zimanta. And have you tried Uber Vu? U-b-e-r –v-u, they’re a Slovenian company.


Chris Brogan: No, I haven’t. I’m feeling like I should be writing notes. I mean you have all these…


Susan Bratton: Well Uber Vu would be nice for you because you do a lot of online commenting. That’s like Dave Taylor; he’s a commenter. He gets comments and he comments a lot, and I think you do that too. Uber Vu lets you track the comments from any of your content or any content any place on the web. Anything that happens you can track all the comments that happen across things. So people who commented on Twitter about some, like you do a blog post, people comment about it on Twitter, they comment about it on your blog, they comment about it in Face Book, whatever. Uber Vu will thread it all up so that you can both see all the comments in one place and respond to comments from one place.


Chris Brogan: Ooh.


Susan Bratton: That might be good for you.


Chris Brogan: I like it.


Susan Bratton: There you go. There’s my little tip for Chris. So I want to switch gears a little bit and make sure that, a bit part of Trust Agents was talking about networking and social networking, but the IRL, the In Real Life piece of it, there are still so many people who get caught up around the fear of networking, and networking in business at events has changed. It’s evolving. Why don’t you tell me what you think your personal best practices are about networking at events and in real life.


Chris Brogan: First and foremost, do your homework because the tools are so that we can go out and we can find peoples stream on Twitter, we can find their Face Book, we can look for their blog, we can see if they have a Wikipedia entry. Get connected with them first through the web and understand what kind of person they are, because in that will be clues and hints and ideas as to whether or not the person is someone you can just run up and say hi to or whether or not you’re going to have to ease in gently. So get all kinds of information on what they like, what they don’t like and you won’t have to guess about how you can say your hello. People were doing this really successfully with me in LA at the Twist Up event. They knew who I was, they knew some of my most recent blog posts, they knew what I was interested in or not, and they really leveraged that into an opportunity to talk and make a conversation with me, and it was really useful. The other thing is this whole business card exchange ninja thing we used to do when we were younger: one, make your business card informative. It’s not clever to write “Just Google me” on it, because if I’ve got it in my back pocket while I’m at the conference and I want to invite you to dinner and I look down and see “Just Google me”, then I’m not inviting you to dinner because it’s going to be two extra steps for me to find all that information. I might not be at the right kind of place to make that kind of call. I might, my phone might not be on a data plan at that point or something. Don’t be picky or interesting with your card. You know, to that same point Susan, you were talking about using a card scanner and the work that involves. It’s amazing how clever doesn’t translate very nicely to optical character recognition. So, you know, as much time as we put into designing pretty on our cards, lets not. They’re going to get read by a machine or they’re going to get read by a person so that they can be used; make them pretty, but don’t make them amazing.


Susan Bratton: Amen to that brother. So lets talk about those velvet rope communities. I call them circles, and I think that we need to move to, just like you and Robert and I are unfollowing people, just like we have thousands of people in our Face Book networks and our Linked In networks, its become bloated. We care about people but we need more ways to organize them, and I think we’re moving into having very private groups or tags or circles or velvet rope communities. Do you see any online tools that are helping us create this now?


Chris Brogan: Well yes. I mean there’s lots of things that allow for private social network construction. A lot of them are, you know, paid community platform type sites, anything from as simples as that allows us to build a site for twenty-five bucks a month, even if we want to take the ads off of it, is something that allows us to build a very private personalized experience. You can use things like Hive Live or Kick Apps or whatever you can make it. There’s even blogging software, add ons, for example, in both movable type and word press, like Buddy Press, that allow for a private experience. If you go to Gigaohme and look at what Ohm Malika’s doing, he’s got his regular section and now he has this sort of private section that, you know, if you pay you get more information. And that access to information is doubly benefited by having people who are weeded out from being sort of the grazers into the people that want to actively participate. There’s lots of experiences like this. An interesting one, a kind of fun new one from Sam Lawrence who was the CEO at Jive Networks, which is a community software platform, he built a sex positive network called Black Box Republic, which doesn’t mean that it’s a porn site, it doesn’t mean that it’s, you know, something specific to the adult industry, but rather for people who experience sex positive events and who work in sex positive type communities, like certain, even certain big traveling festivals and the like. Well trust is of course very important there, so they have a very private social network that has a whole voucher system for how people interact and who they can say hit to and all this. It’s a very interesting social sculpture being made on Black Box Republic.


Susan Bratton: I’ll have to check that out, now that I hear is kind of going away. I think that was the first generation probably of Black Box Republic. Be interesting to see more about that. I know we need to close the show. I could talk to you about technology applications for managing your business relation… I mean what we’re really talking about here, you told me that you want to, you didn’t want to be know, you’re not a social media guy, you’re a guy that wants to be know for helping put a human face on corporations through technology, right?


Chris Brogan: Right. I think there’s the opportunity. The opportunity exists that we can be human again, you know, after several dozen years of learning how to mass market. We have the opportunity to make things a lot more café shaped, which means to me that they’re much more human spaced and we can have unique conversations.


Susan Bratton: Yeah, I know you and CC like to talk about café conversations. CC, shout out to CC. Speaking of humanity, humanity is a very messy and humorous thing, and when I asked you about your sinful decadent guilty pleasure, I liked your answer. Tell everybody.


Chris Brogan: It’s a site where people can submit their text messages that they either received from friends or whatnot from last night, and think about last night, usually that means drunk or otherwise incapacitated, usually it’s some kind of party or something like this. So for example, it could be something really nonsequitor or strange, one of them from 6:02, which I think is Arizona says, “I bet I’ve been more pregnant than you.” Now I have no idea why they’re saying that, but it’s funny to me.


Susan Bratton: I like the other one: “False alarm, still invincible.”


Chris Brogan: Exactly, so… And a lot of them are kind of dirty and so, you know, they’re not really safe for all audiences, but, you know, they’re still kind of funny for what they are.


Susan Bratton: Well we can say the word ‘boobs’. I remember this, I like this one from area code 361, “Boobs, all I remember is boobs.” I can’t even imagine that scenario… I can actually, I can imagine that scenario.


Chris Brogan: There you have it. Well I mean there’s kind of simple obvious ones. One is, “You supply the liquor and I’ll accidentally forget my bathing suit.”


Susan Bratton: How about area code 972, “Some kid came into the principals office and tried to explain what he was sent there for through interpretive dance.” I like that kid. I really like that kid. And here’s what we’re going to have for lunch, “Found a water bottle filled with Bloody Mary in my purse this morning.” What do you say we go drink that water bottle?


Chris Brogan: Before we take that helicopter ride over the Great Wall? I’m game.


Susan Bratton: Well that sounds really good. A couple of Bloody Mary’s and a helicopter ride over the Great Wall with Chris Brogan. I’ll do it. It’s been so much fun to have you Chris. I love talking about all this great technology. There’s just this huge amount of stuff that’s so great out there right now, isn’t there?


Chris Brogan: It’s a really good time to be a nerd.


Susan Bratton: It is. Yahoo and amen for nerds, I’m with you. Well Chris, thank you so much for coming onto Dishy Mix. It’s really been a pleasure. I love your work, read your blog, love your email. Just keep doing what you’re doing, man. I hope you’re getting rich doing it ‘cause I’m learning a lot, so thank you.


Chris Brogan: Any day now. Thank you Susan.


Susan Bratton: Exactly; any day now. Alright, I’m your host Susan Bratton. You got to know Chris Brogan. You should buy his book Trust Agents, and you will learn some things and then you can share it around. It’s a souvenir apparently. Have a great day and I will talk to you next week. Bye-bye.