Social currency is the new capital

The Banker - Painting At The Banbury Museum, O...
Image by Jim Linwood via Flickr

Have you worked your ass off so you could get to a place where people have to come to you? Does you chest well up with pride because you’re an really important guy or gal?  You’ve got money, prestige, things and even a fancy title. Maybe you even belong to a golf club. Hey, Mr. important, I hate to break it to you but you’re not so important any more.

There’s this thing called the Internet and it means that people don’t have to go though you anymore. Whether you’re at the bank or the corner office, the landscape has changed. The walls are coming down and power is shifting to the givers and away from the road blockers. Sure, you’ve still got the power to slow things down but people have started going around you.

Only a few years ago information scarcity made gate keepers very powerful in our society. For example, real estate agents had total control over home sales. They did this by controlling the flow of information between buyers and seller. This made it very easy to command a hefty 7% commission.

The Internet has opened up access to the information and now buyers can educate themselves about which houses are for sale and for what price. There are also internet banks and even blogs with a lot of information about how people get things done in the housing industry. Homebuyers no longer have to do things the old way and pay a 7% commission.

What has this meant for real estate agents? Well, my mother-in-law happens to be one and it’s been a hard few years for everyone in the business–  but people still require service and expertise. So many of the agents who add value to the equation are getting by OK. But just providing access to the market (using power) is no longer enough. Customers are demanding and getting service.

In this new age of open information a person’s importance is now measured by the value they add to the equation. What they can do to positively affect a situation. Negative power, the control of information and resources is on the wane since people can go around assholes. Sure, rich guys will still have an advantage but they don’t hold all the cards.

A layman who reads this blog and a few other blogs will get a good idea of what it’s like to work in the marketing and advertising industry. They may even get a real good idea of how my job is done. And I’m OK with that. Why? Because what I strive to do as a professional is to help people. And hopefully, my writing does that. And in this new world of open information, the social capital I create with this will eventually reward me monetarily and it already has intellectually and emotionally.

In my and any other businesses, it all used to be about who you knew. Now, who you know is unlimited with a cable modem and an internet address. The powerful should take notice and make sure they’re adding value for customers, employees and the community.

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Posted on: March 15, 2010, by :