Why you need to build your Social Capital?

So over the last few blog posts we have looked at ways in which websites will provide you with a very different web experience today and over the next 24 months. A web that brings your search results based on what your friends clicked on and a buying experience based on what others in your social network (like Facebook) have bought. A web where users can update their status, post photos, and play games with friends directly within web enabled appliances like Xbox Live!

But this is just a look forward – what about a look backwards? And what does this mean for our future?

What it means is that your Social Capital will be a very important asset to you. Perhaps even as important as your home. (see an Avaya colleague of mine – Jim Keenan’s blog post – Why Your Social Graph Will Be Worth as Much as Your Home)

What currently looks like islands of Social activity in various Social Networks will begin to control your life – the jobs you get, the schools you go to. Those that have weak Social Capital will become the equivalent of Social Outcasts – not able to get the killer job at the financial institution or accepted into Harvard because they have very low Social Capital.

Who would you rather hire – the person with 2 followers on Twitter and no Facebook or LinkedIn account or the person with 2000 followers on Twitter and a huge network on Facebook and LinkedIn with 36 glowing recommendations! I know who I would rather have.

This means all this work you are putting into your Facebook profile, LinkedIn account and Twitter followers will all pay off for you and your family. You should spend an hour a day building your profiles, connecting with people, friending more, engaging in more conversations and generally building up your Social Capital.

At first I used to wonder why we were all doing these social activities, I asked people on my podcast series – so where is this all going? And now its clear to me we aren’t just messing around and wasting time – we are building one of the most important assets of our lives.

5 comments to Why you need to build your Social Capital?

  • David Fuller

    It's an interesting argument and one that makes sense for people with thousands of followers to promote, but luckily, life is more complicated.

    Would I hire the guy with 2000 followers or 2? Well if the 2 were Barack Obama and Stephen Fry, I would probably go for the guy with 2.

    Would I admit to Harvard the popular girl with thousands of facebook friends, or the person who sacrificed some of their social climbing to concentrate on academic pursuits?

    Some of my best contacts will never be on facebook or Linked-in. They operate in networks which are off the grid. Offline social networks like yacht-clubs or golf clubs or the paddock of a motor race provide quality rather than quantity.

    I run both strategies. I am on twitter, linked-in and facebook, but it is my offline relationships that really deliver, both commerically and socially.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ David – interesting how you added the offline social networks like Golf or Yacht clubs which has long been the bastion of social connectivity.

    I think online social networks are additive to them (like the ATM vs Teller argument). One will never replace the other.

  • Christian

    The idea of "social capital" is amazing to me. And undeniable. I was talking with a web developer a few years ago, and he referred to my site as "real estate", and that really clicked with me. There is real intrinsic value in the network we create. How to appraise your network's value? That will be interesting.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Christian – here is a nifty little applet that calculates the value of a blog


    mine is worth 81,000 up from 71,000 when I checked last

    guess I wont be retiring anytime soon 😉

  • Promotional Products

    I feel the same way as Mr. Fuller, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all well and good, however, you can not neglect the personal offline relationships that you have taken time to cultivate.

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