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Your Network Is Your Networth – The Power Of Your Social Capital

Written by: Lotta Spjut, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Have you ever thought about your social capital and what it means? Maybe not, though if I put it like this; Do You agree that having a good social relationship with other people, private and in your business or work, is an integral part of our personal ‒ and business lives and can follow with productive benefits?

A photos of different human reaction faces.

After reading this article, You have learned more about:

  • What is Social Capital?

  • Different types of social capital

  • Social media and other social networks

  • Pros and Cons

  • How can You grow Your social capital?

What is Social Capital?


According to The Institute of Social Capital, the most common definitions of social capital focus on social relations that have productive benefits. However, there are a variety of definitions identified in the literature and no consensus on measuring social capital because it can be subjective.


The idea of social capital is that social interactions bring positive (often economic) outcomes, and the term refers to a positive product of human interaction. These positive outcomes can be tangible or intangible and may include innovative ideas, helpful information, favors, and future opportunities. An individual does not hold social capital but instead appears in the potential between social network connections between individuals. Social capital involves the possibility of individuals securing benefits and inventing solutions to problems through interacting in social networks.


An organization's success can be related to the social capital of personal relationships and networks, both within and outside an organization or network. Also, it can describe the personal connections within a company or community that help build respect and trust among employees, leading to enhanced company goals.


Social capital also allows a group to work together effectively to achieve a common purpose or goal. It will enable a society or organization, such as a corporation or a community, to function together through trust, shared identity, norms, values, and mutual relationships.


Lately, we often hear the term, even if the concept itself, our social relationships can have productive outcomes for an individual or a group, is nothing “new.” Earlier social capital was commonly used to describe civic and social responsibility.


Today social capital is often used to describe the relationships that help contribute to the success of businesses. It is considered as valuable as financial or human capital. Networking and using the internet are great examples of how social capital works in a business sense—allowing professionals to form social and often global connections in many variations. We can see that many jobs are filled through informal networking rather than through job agencies. That is social capital in action!


Without social capital, there are no connections. The sharing of ideas is not there, and neither is communication. When a team, organization, or community is ‘in sync’ and working towards a shared purpose, everyone within knows their part to do. Trust is important, and without some level of social capital, trust is not there.

Different types of Social Capital


According to Robert D. Putnam, an American political scientist, social capital revolves around three dimensions. Interconnected networks of relationships between individuals and groups (social ties or social participation), levels of trust that characterize these ties, and resources or benefits that are both gained and transferred by social relations and social involvement.


Investopedia refers to researchers identifying three primary forms of social capital.

  1. Bonding is social capital created within a group with shared interests and goals. A neighborhood association is an excellent example of how bonding works—also used among family and close friends to reinforce existing, intimate relationships.

  2. Bridging, on the other hand, creates social capital across networks and groups. When bridging is successful, individuals in the two groups discover shared goals and interests and work together to achieve them. A school that links up with a local police department is an example of how bridging works—also used among acquaintances to become closer to people. Facebook leverages bridging capital.

  3. Linking, like bridging, creates ties across groups, though those that span different socioeconomic groups. Linking has been associated with increasing people's chances of upward social mobility and is also used among members of voluntary organizations, including employees of the same company.

Within business, My people group is categorized into two groups: external and internal social capital.


External social capital refers to an individual’s relationships outside of the organization. What connections does this person have that might bring value to the team? For example, this potential team member has come personally recommended by someone trusted. Will it be more likely to employ them? What external relationships do they have which might benefit the business?


Internal social capital is the connections within the organization or network. Here the social capital is a bit like glue. It is the stuff that holds the team together. It is the shared values and team behaviors, the things that bring the team together. It can be the calls made to each other to ensure all are doing okay and on track, and those small conversations made every day that, over time, build relationships, trust, and levels of reciprocity.


What have social media and online social networks to do with Social Capital?


Social capital is connected to connections. The internet has effectively created an infinite number of social relations, revolutionizing our social capital. Investopedia gives some examples:


  • Airbnb, Uber, and eBay users can use social capital to select based on the reviews of past users. The same people contribute to social capital by leaving their reviews later. The companies that own those sites use reviews as an essential component of their quality control programs.

  • Social networking sites such as Meta (formerly Facebook) strengthen bonds based on personal interests, such as hobbies, past experiences, a shared hometown, or a previous employer.

  • Social media is also a primary source of social capital for small business owners who can showcase their products and services online more effectively, if more cheaply, than giant corporations.

  • Immersive gaming environments have allowed people from different socioeconomic groups and demographics to convene and collaborate in virtual online worlds. Often, these individuals will develop friendships and relationships that extend beyond the bounds of the game and into the real world.

  • Web3 communities connect many people with the same interests that build connections for close collaboration and often develop deeper relationships that lead to IRL (In Real Life) meetings. Within Web3, You can also secure your social capital online. (More about that in my next article).

Pros and Cons with Social Capital


The unique benefits of social capital are often the easiest to observe and understand. Social Capital Research means that social capital increases the flow of information across social connections. It also opens doors and spreads ideas and can give us access to tangible and intangible resources, benefits, productivity and savings, and any form of capital (physical, human, social, etc.). At the individual level, social capital is embedded in social relationships.


According to Investopedia, there are documented positives that social capital can bring. For example, it has been found that many people have found their jobs through word of mouth as opposed to more formal avenues. Individuals with access to higher levels of social capital also report being happier, in better health, and have increased levels of trust in a community as a result of their positive relationships. Social capital can also provide access to human capital through skills, expertise, knowledge, or information, and it also gives us access to social resources through a “friend of a friend.” That gives us access to resources far beyond our direct contacts. The examples are numerous.


Within organizations, such as businesses, high social capital also fosters trust, mutual respect, and collaboration .. which, in turn, can lead to increased productivity and profitability. The individual-level examples of social capital are also relevant at the group level since individuals interact within a group and form relationships. The group also develops norms that govern acceptable and appropriate behavior for group members. It can be social capital, where those norms are positive and have productive benefits for group members.


At the group level, the most concrete example of social capital is the creation of rules or guidelines that provide the basis for behavior and give members the confidence to act in prosocial or collaborative ways. It can also be a common language and shared understanding. That creates a sense of shared purpose that also encourages collective action.


Where social capital is positive, there is an inclination to be cooperative and collaborative. That could result in problem-solving, creativity, and innovation for organizations that would not be possible if people did not work together. Social capital also relates to social norms and belonging that can positively relate to motivation, with significant consequences for productivity and efficiency.


Social capital has always been linked to positive change. However, it is not always like that. On the contrary, there are distinct advantages to social capital. Still, people can use it for manipulative or destructive purposes. For example, groups such as different gangs and drug cartels often use social capital to strengthen bonds within the group and to recruit new members.


Similarly, a group of corporate executives could collude to manipulate market prices to drive out the competition. Those in minority groups and marginalized people may not have the same social capital resources as others, which can put them at a disadvantage. People can be shut out of opportunities because they lack the social capital and network connections to be introduced to influential people or learn about suitable options.

How can You Develop Your Social Capital?


Social capital is a byproduct of your social networks and interpersonal relationships. Growing and strengthening these bonds among family, friends, and your network will help increase your social capital. Socializing, keeping in touch, attending networking events, and reaching out to old acquaintances are helpful strategies. With the internet, being active in diverse online social networks can also help you reach new and different types of people who may have new and other kinds of information.


Your social capital will increase by being prosocial: being helpful and giving, getting to know people, strengthening your existing relationships, and trusting and trustworthy. Raising your social capital is, in other words, about generating goodwill. That goes for both personal and business growth.


Here are seven ways to build social capital shared by Forbes:

  1. Network proactively

  2. Be Strategic

  3. Create a diverse network

  4. Pay it forward and leverage relationships

  5. Set aside dedicated time each week to network

  6. Keep in touch with former colleagues and alums

  7. Focus your social media networking efforts

Summary


I started the article with “Your network is Your Networth,” and I believe You understand what I mean now. Relations and connections will always have more significant value than any money.


Social capital is a process where like-minded individuals, groups, and organizations form a collaborative social network to increase prospects for beneficial gain, benefits, and resources. As a result, information, opportunities, and resources flow through your social networks. For example, in the business world, studies show that companies with a high degree of social capital enjoy happier and more productive employees.


With all internet connections, growing your social capital and ensuring it stays yours is more important than ever. In my next article, I will go into how You can secure that your Social Capital stays Yours and how Social-Fi combines the principles of social media and decentralized finance (DeFi). With your Social Capital, SocialFi platforms offer You to create, manage, and own social media platforms and the content generated by you and its other participants. Instead of the platforms earning on Your participation, You will.


To learn more from Lotta, you can visit her website and connect with her social media accounts; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. Read more from Lotta!

 

Lotta Spjut, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Lotta Spjut is a dynamic Entrepreneur, Pro Executive Business Coach, and Health, Fitness, and Nutrition Developer ‒ all rolled into one!

She has the passion and drive to inspire and empower people and businesses around the globe. To use the skills and knowledge they have, learn new skills, and get more knowledge to grow and become successful individuals and entrepreneurs. With her passion for education, Lotta has graced the TEDx stage and other public forums with her expertise on various subjects.

Lotta is a seasoned entrepreneur. Her main business over the last decades has been as a full-time Pro Executive Business Coach, Educator, Advisor, Developer, and Public Speaker. She has thousands of people worldwide whom she advised, mentored, and educated in leadership, personal and business development, and entrepreneurship. Lotta has extensive experience in these areas, using her business acumen to create successful ventures and leveraging her diverse skillset to offer valuable coaching and advisory services to executives looking to take their businesses to the next level.

Lotta has a long experience in the health, fitness & nutrition industries and worked with several companies in this area. She is committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle through her health, fitness, and nutrition work. With her wide-ranging knowledge and experience in these fields, Lotta is well-equipped to educate and inspire others to live healthier and happier lives. She believes in a holistic approach to health and wellness that incorporates both the mind and the body and promotes physical health and mental well-being as essential for achieving success in all areas of life.


Since Jan-2022, Lotta also advises (no financial advice) Web3 companies and is active in several Web3 communities. As a Web5 Entrepreneur, she advises ”traditional” companies to leap into the exciting world of Web3.

Lotta is a true renaissance woman, a multi-talented individual who excels in multiple domains, making her a valuable asset in any professional or personal setting.


Her favorite quotes are, "Start where You are, use what You have, and Do what You can,” "You don’t need to be great to start, but You need to start to be great,” and on her arm, she has the tattoo ”The pain of Discipline is easier than the pain of Regret”

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