Social capital, networks and reputation

Unless you are deploying a tool such as Integral Accounting, it is unlikely that you will take into account the all-in-value of someone’s social capital.

Our connectivity to people within networks, and our reputation within that network is an extraordinary asset that extends well beyond financial account. Relationships are human nourishment, and as essential to life as food, air and water. One introduction between two people in your network can change the world.

Almost all people forget this. They forget the person who made the connection that unleashed the thing that changed the world. (Or at the least changed the world for the two people.)

They forget because we have devalued social capital. Bright shiny things are much more valuable.

I am not proposing that we do what we have done in almost all other domains, which is to commercialize/commodify social capital and build a business model off of it. However, when we start with the clear recognition that an introduction and someone’s social capital is of high value, and we build that recognition into the grounds of engagement, we are beginning to move into a world that see’s value in a persons carefully cultivated network, and their commitment to maintaining their reputation within that network by acting with coherence, integrity, consistency and trust.

I was reminded of just how little value people do place in someone’s social network in recent times when several people within my network (A network I tend with deep love and care) dismissed me and my ability to build social capital in a very public and stingy way. The sad end to this tale is that they are the losers for their reputation within my network has been almost certainly permanently injured. They did not see the value of my ability to build a network, and the asset they had at their finger tips by being invited in to that network.

It takes years, if not decades, if not a lifetime, to build beautiful aligned networks. When you find a person around who networks of people gather, you have found a precious skill.

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Porter Novelli Global via Compfight

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