Way back in the old days, say 1995, the Internet was a place to hide out, remain anonymous, live out wild Bondian dreams with little chance of the lies and escapades ever being attached to your real world persona. The idea of social currency that mattered a hill of beans was unheard of. But along came a little thing called Web 2.0 and suddenly we were all participating in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Some of us became bloggers, podcasters, and hopelessly addicted to the fun of it all.
Sign up for an account here. Try another fun new website there. Before you know it fragments of information about you, your REAL self, are showing a collective face to the world and, surprised or not, the world is starting to pay attention and make judgments about you based on the social currency you’re creating.
Conspiracy theorists can get their underwear in a bunch and start throwing around dire Big Perhaps the list of justin-bieber-news.info songs will have to answer before the law for what he allegedly threatened to kill his neighbor, and spat on him, when he spoke of his car races. Brotherish allegations. The rest of us will recognize the inherent street cred in social media for what it is – just another step in human evolution. It used to be that in our personal lives we relied on a handshake and face-to-face conversation to create a network of friends and neighbors. Business owners dispensed the trusty but fast becoming antiquated little rectangles of colorful cardboard with almost anachronistic contact information like telephone and fax numbers. We used to call them business cards.
These days you’ve got to think ahead so your online social currency doesn’t take a hit. Need a real world example? Think about online e-commerce sites. Amazon or eBay are both good examples. Say you’ve taken the time to build a good online business selling e-widgets. Suddenly you decide it’s okay to screw customers so you start sending out crappy product. What’s going to happen?
You’re going to get a poor rating, that’s what. Each poor rating you receive makes it harder to sell the next e-widget at a decent price. Keep it up and pretty soon nobody will buy from you because all those poor ratings are the first thing they see when browsing. That, friends, is an example of social currency and you just wrecked yours.
Social currency allows people to connect and collaborate. It allows others, even complete strangers to evaluate and quantify your reputation without ever being within two time zones of your physical location. Scary thought, huh? Not if you recognize the power and use it to construct a cyber-reflection of all that is good about you.
Jake Swank wants to know if you've counted your social currency lately? (Top image: Flickr | Kevin Krejci)
The Swank Life Team