Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Social Capital

I propose that we ban the words "social capital" from our business vocabularies.

"Aquiring social capital" is a phrase I've heard used to describe the process of making friends with people in order to increase the size of one's business network, and therefore increase one's ability to do business with, and in some cases, connect others.

Every time I hear someone talk about social capital, I find myself questioning their motives with regard to their relationship with me. "Is this guy really interested in what I do, or is he just looking for another LinkedIn connection to quantify his social capital?" I don't want to be anyone's social capital. I just want to be partners, friends or both -- not just a notch in the belt of some social climber.

I'm not writing this post because I think everyone who has referenced social capital has a hidden agenda. In fact, most of them are awesome people with legitimate, sincere desires to help others as they grow their network.

Steering clear of terms like social capital simply eliminates the risk of potential friends misinterpreting your intentions.


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