In Case of Emergency Use Social Capital
If you don’t have any social capital at this point, or perhaps you have no idea what it is then you better learn fast and start stockpiling. Much like the importance of a good sturdy bomb shelter and a decent supply of canned re-fried beans and Spaghetti-O’s, social capital is a must have in times of emergency.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to attend a seminar that was led by Julien Smith from inoveryourhead.net. Julien spoke about many things throughout his talk but one of the main things that really hit home for me was the need for social capital.
What is Social Capital.
Imagine if you were to lose your job. You needed to get back on your feet quickly, so you begin by asking people if they have any jobs available, or if they can help you get a job. Now if you were to just start asking people that you barely know if they could help you, you would most likely get ‘no’ as the default response. If you were to ask the same question of a close friend or colleague then they would be more likely to help you out. In short, Social Capital is having networks and connections of people that you can rely on for support (and conversely offer support to them as well).
How do I get Social Capital
Have you ever run out of milk while pouring a bowl of cereal, and thought that maybe you should have seen this coming and picked some up from the grocery store the previous day? The same rule applies with Social Capital; It’s best to have it before you actually need it.
In order to procure Social Capital (at least from an online perspective) you need to create your own channel or network and begin broadcasting. You need to build a support system and have it in place before you actually need it. A few examples of places to create a channel would be Twitter (follow and connect with people within your industry or area of interest), Linkedin (connect with people you have met and build a large network of people you have connected with), Facebook (keep in touch with friends and family)
Now from time to time you will need to leave the house and participate in meeting people in the real world, you can’t just build Social Capital from your computer. What this means is that you need to get out and facilitate the exchange of Social Capital; you need to say yes to new experiences and meeting new people.
Although you may feel that you have enough in stock, or don’t need it right now, it is always better to be prepared and be continually developing your networks and relationships so that you have a strong support system in place when you need it. So from here you should start up a profile on a few social networks (ie Linked, Twitter), start connecting with people online, and then start saying yes to meeting new people and having new experiences. Be a part of every conversation.