I found this great piece by Janet Fouts on the importance of recognizing and reinforcing your 'social capital'. It really leads on from my last discussion about making sure that you're creating a valuable experience and relationship with anyone you are connecting with on social media.
If you're on social media (such as Twitter for example) and you've got followers, then you have got 'social capital'. But how much of your following is actually social capital varies. As discussed in my last posting, a significant proportion of your social networks are not going to be engaging in what you do online. I like to think of these as background noise. Then, as according to Fouts, there is the 'social capital' within your following: the follower that "listens to you, trusts you and takes action based on what they’ve read". These are the followers who are hard to come by, hard to cultivate but by far and away the most valuable to your network!
In this way, the evidence against the numbers came continues to mount. Social capital does not equate to social credibility. Fouts is quick to point out that "just because somebody has tons of connections does not indicate the level of their value to your network, or even their own".
How do you maintain a valuable network? "Make it a point to respond or otherwise support a broad spectrum of people in your network. When they do good things point it out. Answer questions, ask questions that you know they have the answer to just to support them" says Fout. Don't spread yourself too thin or over do it (they will tune you out), but stay involved and make the effort to make the connections.
All in all, a good read about the value of networking when you get what you give. Check out Fout's website and give this article a read, well worth your time.
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