Social Capital: Using Social Capital

Using Social Capital. – Social Capital refers to the many resources available to us in and through our personal and business relationships. These resources come in form of information, ideas, leads, business opportunities, financial capital, power, emotional support, goodwill, trust and cooperation.

Without a deliberate action on our part to work on relationship management, these resources remain dormant and hidden.

In the life of everyone, these resources are locked away in the background until we are conscious to its existence. They also remain hidden if we are on the category of people who believe on individualism, pretending that we are the masters of our own fates, or that relationships really don’t matter.

Even natural talent (Like footballers, musicians, etc), Intelligence in the case of First Class Graduates; Luck (being at the right place, having the right information at the right time) are not individual attributes at all; they are shaped and expressed by and through relationships with others.

Have you read?

  1. Social Capital Part 1 – Connecting to Connect
  2. Social Capital Part 2 – How it works

Using Social Capital – How?

The concept of social capital is that of social networks, both for those in the networks as well as sometimes for bystanders as well. (I emphasized this on my post on Connecting to Connect).

At the core of Social Capital is TRUST and with the generalized norms of trust; people engage in “reciprocity” – Doing for others not with any immediate expectation of repayment. This kind of trust is valuable because it lubricates social interactions. With a true life story we will see how you can use your Social Capital.

In 2009, Emlda was diagnosed with a septal defect at the age of 14 Months. This means that she has a big hole in her heart which now allows the blood from the two sides of the heart to mix. Ordinarily, this will not be a problem but because of the size of the hole, doctors have advice the parents that a corrective heart surgery has to be done.

The major obstacle for Emlda’s Parents is the amount involved, and as a young family with low earnings, they cannot afford it.

In 2010, because of complains from the Crèche administration where Emlda was enrolled, on her constant bodily weakness and in some cases fainting, the parents withdraw her from Crèche and employed the services of a Nanny. Emlda’s Nanny – Gloria, was a young girl of 19 years who was waiting for an admission into the university. She can be described as an active social media user.

On one of Emlda’s lungs infection sickness, Gloria posted her picture on Facebook and asked her friends to be praying for her baby.

At that age, many of Gloria’s friends were surprised that she had a baby and some of her friends were interested to know what was wrong with her “baby”.  One of her friends was a doctor; on further communication she disclosed to him that Emlda has a heart defect.

This friend connected Gloria to a colleague who works as a consultant to Kanu Heart Foundation, a Non-Governmental Agency that helps children with heart defects. Gloria cascaded this information to Emlda’s parents and today Emlda is as healthy as any Child her age.

The names on this story were changed to hide their true identity.

The above story is just one out of the many ways we can connect and also benefit from connecting to people. What happened in the story was at a time when Smartphone has not become common as it is now and access to the internet was majorly through Cyber Cafes.

Today, more than 70% of our population has a smart device and Internet access has become cheaper. How do the people we know and who knows us benefit in our cycle of connection?

Although it might have sounded easy in the story, but many things were in place for Gloria, before she was comfortable enough to allow Emlda to access her social capital. These includes;

  1. Treating everybody with respect: If the attitude of Emlda’s parents were not good towards Gloria, she will never take Emlda as her baby let alone putting it up on her facebook page.
  2. Quality Friends/Connections: You cannot grow more than the quality friends you surround yourself with. At age 19, Gloria has friends who have positive things to offer.
  3. Everybody is important: Our society makes us to believe that there are lesser humans. The Society also has a way of giving people labels of inferiority. Avoid this. Have an open mind and create a good memory with everybody you meet. Although there are people who are just difficult to be around, in this case avoidance is the best approach.

I can go ahead to mention many things you can consciously do to gain the core concept of social capital – TRUST, but these three are the keys that unlock others.

In conclusion “Do to others, what you will want them to do to you.”


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