In “The Facebook Era,” the author talks about social capital, and how social networking using tools like Facebook create social capital. The book defines social capital as the collective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these network to do things for each other. She goes on to say that social capital is a powerful source of knowledge, ideas, opportunities, support, reputation, and visibility.
Many of us expect the work we do with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking tools to quickly result in new business opportunities or face-to-face meetings. We think short term. When we do this it can result in us giving up. “I spent a few weeks posting to Twitter and nothing happened.”
I wonder how our behavior would change if we thought longer term and asked “how have the opportunities we’ve seen changed since we started our social media campaign?” Has an increase in the number of followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook corresponded to an increase in new business activity? Or an increase in visitors to the website?
I don’t have well-grounded answers to these questions but consider this an important area to think about as the internet becomes more social and as many of us work on building up our social capital.