10 Aug Influence and Money: The Whuffie Factor and social media
Social capitalism — the capital you gain through your ability to influence other people — isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s just new to the masses as the result of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The Whuffie Factor, by Tara Hunt, is an everyday guide to social capital.
The term whuffie, borrowed by Hunt for the book’s title was popularized by author Cory Doctorow in the book Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom: “Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money… By measuring the thing that money really represented—your personal capital with your friends and neighbors—you more accurately gauged your success.”
Whuffie is the embodiment of the adage ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know (and how much you can influence them)’. The Whuffie Factor explores five keys for maximizing social capital in online communities: listening instead of talking; being an active part of the community; being notable; embracing chaos and finding a higher purpose.
Hunt argues — with more success than shortcomings — that whuffie is the only PREDICTABLE way to build a business and make money online simultaneously. Why? The basis of social networks is trust and the ability to transform trusted relationships into transactions where everyone wins.
In the past, wealth created social capital. In the modern world, social capital creates wealth.
“In the gift economy, the more you give away, the more whuffie you gain, which is completely opposite from currency in the market economy, where when you give away money, it’s pretty much gone,” said Hunt. “Saving whuffie for a rainy day doesn’t work as well as saving money for a rainy day. Whuffie increases in value as it circulates throughout the community.”
The concept of community — and community marketing — is key to leveraging Whuffie. People join online networks to build relationships and leverage the opinions and suggestions of people they trust.
Hunt is an approachable and trusted resource. She embodies the principles of her book as an active member of the Twitter community. With more than 28,000 followers (@missrogue) and a passion for karaoke (@whuffaoke), she embraces the online community, chaos and the open road.
After enjoying her book, and Hunt’s exploits on Twitter in recent months, I’m happy to be along for the ride.
The ‘Art’ of Social Capital
Recent columns by Troy Janisch
- Troy Janisch: Sweat and dollars: Strong social media programs grow in tight spaces
- Troy Janisch: CRM is social. Social networks make CRM conversational.
- Troy Janisch: Social media is key for professionals in a weak economy
- Troy Janisch: My personal guarantee: No one has EVER complained about your company using social media
- Troy Janisch: How to build social media programs with confidence
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