Organizations Amplify Social Capital

Organizations are social capital amplifiers. They collect social capital from the networks of all of their employees, funding sources, board members, partners, advisors, volunteers, donors, consumers, and suppliers. They can then focus social capital on a tightly integrated array of crucial projects that in turn affect the success of the whole organization.

Social media campaigns use social networks as a medium for broadcasting a message or collective action. This is “pushing power to the edges.”

Social capital networks also enable collecting and focusing social capital to accomplish precise tasks of a single team or a single professional working for the organization. This is collecting power from the edges to accomplish work needed in the center.

On the one hand, social media campaigns are becoming well used and understood. (For example, see Momentum: Igniting Social Change in a Connected Age.” On the other hand, using extended social capital networks to get work done within the center of organizations is less well understood and adopted – except by a relative few “networkers” in the organization. Likewise, the tools that can enhance extended social capital applications are far too under-used, largely because of lack of knowledge and focus on why or how to use them. As a result, this means that organizations can currently tap only a tiny fraction of their available social capital.

For more on social capital applications for organizations, networks, and multi-centered meta networks see:

Recent blog post on Types of Social Capital Applications

Short paper: Amplifying Social Capital in Organizations and Networks

Recent blog post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Usefulness for Organizations


6 Responses to “Organizations Amplify Social Capital”

  1. 1 Steve Ardire April 7, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Duncan – congrats on your new new blog !

    I especially liked this nugget in your Amplifying Social Capital in Organizations and Networks piece…

    “We can also participate in creating and enhancing the multi-centered networks – or meta networks — where each person and organization gets the benefit of the entire network. In such a network each person and organization can tap the power of their own networks’ edges for use inside the organization by individual staff and small teams to achieve specific objectives. Such uses are especially enhanced by the social capital and trusted connections inherent in social networks”

    Social capital and trusted connections would may very well to the underpinnings of SONAR Suite from Trampoline Systems (a consulting client of mine)

    SONAR Server generates a social graph for networks of people, relevant interests, and communication patterns to build an enterprise social network map based on the semantic metadata of interpersonal relationships.

    SONAR Dashboard ( browser UI ) offers conceptual simplicity and natural understanding of ‘social intelligence’ for knowledge workers browsing their network. By harvesting information about the social network that’s already implicit in e-mail, wikis, blogs, other content repositories it becomes easy to identify experts in a particular topic for better collaboration with subject matter experts without having to infer expertise or spam a large group of people.

    SONAR Flightdeck ( desktop app UI ) provides ‘organizational intelligence’ for mainstream business managers with visualization and analysis of information flows across social networks. For managers it means you can see how your employees are interacting and on what topics since edges in the network are labeled based on the semantics of a connection.

    However we cannot map 100 Trillion Connections 😉


  2. 2 Valdis July 9, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    > However we cannot map 100 Trillion Connections

    Funny, Steve.

    The person that asks you map a 100 trillion connections is probably also the person that asks you to make their organization “scale free”! LOL!

  3. 3 Valdis July 9, 2008 at 7:12 pm


    I am not sure that “amplifier” is the right musical metaphor here. I think mixer is more appropriate. What happens when we all mix our nets in an org is not just benefit. There is noise and distortion too… and usually you do not want to amplify that… unless you are Jimi Hendrix, and none of us are!

    You have to be careful of the “more connectivity” Kool Aid! Mixed right it can add some great flavor, taken straight, in large volumes[pardon the pun] it will kill ya.

    I will read your other papers and comment when I have the time… thanks for sharing these.

    BTW, I have an additional blog: for my more far out thoughts. Network Weaving is for sharing what works.

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  5. 5 Atossearono March 8, 2009 at 1:37 am

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  1. 1 The Yin and Yang of Social Capital « 100 Trillion Connections Trackback on August 30, 2008 at 6:28 pm

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