The Yin and Yang of Social Capital

In an earlier post I showed four different types of social capital applications.  But this can be simplified to include only two (the columns in the previous matrix).   These two are:  Inward focused, and Outward expanding.

This inward/outward dichotomy is of course a fundamental principle of energy exchange:  Breathing In, breathing out; Listening, Speaking;  Learning, Teaching;  Receiving, Giving.

The Inward Focused applications of Social Capital are used to first locate needed intelligence, introductions, and influence, and then use the social capital connections to draw those inward (to the person or group that needs them) and focus them on a specific task/need at hand.

The Outward Expanding applications of Social Capital are used to spread a vision, mission, message, opportunity, or desired action, out from the center (a person or group) out to the edges of the network.

Currently, both of these social capital applications are in use – e.g., LinkedIn more for the inward-focused applications, Facebook (and what else especially?) more for the outward.

In a kind of combination effect, outward-oriented campaigns are often used to draw donations, new members, customers, and sometimes ideas back into the organization.   Still, the tools themselves are the Outward, mass-campaign type, rather than more precisely-focused Inward type.

At least a few months ago it seemed that most of the excitement among organizations and consultants was on how organizations and causes can use the Outward, campaign-focused, applications.    Is this still the case?  It is probably changing.   But still interesting to think about why this has been the case.

陰陽

Related post:

Organizations Amplify Social Capital

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3 Responses to “The Yin and Yang of Social Capital”


  1. 1 Michael A. B. Lewkowitz September 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I also wonder what’s the same in both cases – and think that perhaps it relates to your last post on soulful connections. In some work I’ve been doing with http://communicopia.com there is a clear understanding that effective online engagement requires getting to the authentic core of what you are communicating – the purpose and values of the organization – the transparent transactional ask being made of the participant – the things that transcend campaigns, corpocracies, strategies.

  2. 2 duncanwork September 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Authentic is a good word for social capital. Like any resource, social capital can be gamed. But with social capital, augmented and confirmed by other social media, it’s usually a bit transparent when someone is gaming the connections.

  3. 3 Michael Tim February 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I love your site!

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