Social Capital in a Social Media World: Boon or Bane?
If you ask me, what is the number one currency, an organisation must have to be functional in today ‘s social media world? Without hesitation, I would say – “Social Capital.”
If you fire back at me; “What the heck is social capital?” Again without a pause, I ‘d say, social capital is “the invisible currency” of both online and offline transactions. Without social capital, you can’t do business online or offline effectively. Nobody will trust you.
Unfortunately, not many people are talking about the importance of social capital, yet we call use it. It is a powerful secret powerful weapon. Don’t take my word for it. In Social Capital and Information Technology, Marleen Huysman and Volker Wulf define social capital in the as:
“The network of ties of goodwill, mutual support, shared language, shared norms, social trust, and a sense of mutual obligation that people can derive value from.”
If I could put it in one word, I ‘d say it the “glue” that holds social networks togther.
Haha, I could not have come up with such a fine definition as Marleen and her partner did. I could do that in a donkey years. I am not smart enough to to that, Ok.
Based on that definition, how many of those key elements of social capital do you actively cultivate today? If you are not actively developing these qualities both online and offline, you are missing out the glue!
The more glue you have, the more you can do. The less glue you have, good luck.
If you want to generate and sustain this glue or currency of transaction that lubricates social interactions, you better create a checklist to monitor your efforts. I call this checklist-:
The Social Capital Generation Factors. Again, I am using Huysman and Wulf s’ brain child to draw you attention things you must be cultivating consciously on an ongoing basis:
— do you develop ties of goodwill regularly?
— provide support to others?
— use a lingo within a network?
— shared norms with a group?
— enjoy social trust from friends?
— add value to a group you belong to?
— belong to a group with mutual obligations?
Let me be clear on this, if you fail to cultivate social capital, social media will be a far fetch thing for you. You ‘d have nobody that likes you, follows you, pokes you, or subscribe to your channel. It is that simple.
I have observed we only retweet, or share from people we like or care about. That is why I have never in my life retweeted anything from David Copperfield. Because it could be a lie or at worse, an illusion.
Thus, to me, social capital is a boon, Not a bane. Yes, I said it! I challenge anyone, including the academics out there to prove me wrong. I wonder why these guys are not teaching it. Few textbooks cover the importance of Social Capital on social networks. I find this misleading and ridiculously question.
If you don’t teach a man how to fish, how do you expect him to feed family? Some books barely make a cursory mention of social capital on social networks. Others suggest there is not enough research or strong research evidence to justify this. It is all B.S! Do yo need to read a scientific journal to feel there is wind? You can feel it!
We don’t even need a book or some test tube research to show us everything. It is right out there, I can see it and am sure you can see it too. Well, of late I have been seeing more authors giving this serious thought.
I am feeling vindicated! At long last!