In my post on Social capital – Connecting to connect, I sounded formal and that was to express the background of Social Capital.
Today, I am going to bring Social Capital to an ordinary man’s level and try to explain how it applies to our everyday lives. I will also talk about what we gain by deliberately working on relationship building and increasing the quality of our social capital.
I don’t know if you have heard successful people say “You don’t really need money”. I have heard it a lot, from books and from few successful people I have met. What they mean to say is that “you don’t really need money at the starting stage of your idea development. What you really need is Social Capital – In today’s language, “Connection”.
Like I said in my first post on Social Capital Series, the word “connection” in my country is synonymous to “corruption”. This is because of the misuse of the opportunities that connection offers, mainly by the people that benefits from it. (To understand this, check the example I gave in the last post on the IT Student). In other to explain what I just said, I will like to define the two words.
Connection – the act or process of bringing two things into contact; junction; union… (Webster’s 1913 Dictionary)
Corruption – The act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct; impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle… (Webster’s 1913 Dictionary)
I would have loved to talk more on these two words but that will be moving away from our topic.
I know you must have heard about the saying “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are” I will re-phrase it to “Let me see the quality of your Social Capital and I will predict your future”. The importance of relationship building has occupied front rolls over the years in both business and religious campaigns. This shows how important relationships are in our daily lives.
Growing up, I always have this fantasy of having at least one friend in all continent of the world. Then there was no Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Google+, etc; and having access to Library is like being invited into the Oval Office of the United States President. Today, everything has changed. I don’t need to be physically present in any country to have friends there. You don’t need to know me personally to read this post. All you need is to stay connected on an infrastructure that has been developed using the principles of social capital.
How Can I build my Social Capital?
One of the major mistake made by the present generation is expecting to receive the exert favour we give. If we give cash, we want cash in return and any other thing apart from what we give is not valued. Let me explain how this works with a simple story;
Lisa is a midwife in a small village in Africa, as a teenager she saw first-hand what being good to people can do. Her father was a Cobbler. The father sometimes offers his services for free or in exchange for anything that the customer can afford both foot-stocks, cash or other valued materials. This payment system was new to the community and was accepted by his customers. Lisa’s father was also a popular jester and always present in major occasions in the community as an entertainer. When Lisa was 15 years old, her parents died after their house collapsed during a night storm. Lisa’s life was a miracle as she narrowly escaped death during this incident.
Today, Lisa is a certified midwife working in the village’s health centre. Her education entirely sponsored by friends of the family. – Social Capital.
Everybody’s experience is unique and so is Lisa’s. We now have Social Media and someone asked how social capital applies to the use of Social Media platform.
Well, let’s talk about LinkedIn.
I have worked with a multinational company for seven years, and recently I discovered something that shocked me. I was a part of a team that successfully completed a project. I wanted to include the experience on my LinkedIn page. I needed to connect all the team members on the Project portfolio. To my surprise, I discovered that 89% of the project team is not on LinkedIn. These are professionals in their fields; who are aspiring daily for career growth and do not have a free active account with the world’s largest professional network.
As a professional platform, LinkedIn provides variety of services that helps users in self development, career development, relationship development, mentorship programs. It surprises me to see youths post selfies and jokes on LinkedIn – a platform that has the ability to connect you to (if not) all major players in the political, business, social, and educational arena in the world.
“If you have access to the president of your country, what will you do first? – Show him a picture of yourself holding alcohol bottle or partially nude pictures?”
If you are an Entrepreneur, Employee, Graduate, Student or Employer; LinkedIn offers you three key features. The platform enables the user to;
- Build your professional identity online and stay in touch with colleague and classmates
- Discover professional opportunities, business deals and new ventures.
- Get the latest news, Inspiration and insights you need to be great at what you do.
All for free!