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.