Social capital-A A +A
Saturday, June 30, 2012
YOU’VE heard of financial capital as the assets or investment one needs to put into an endeavor. But have you heard of social capital?
Social capital is the influence people in social networks like Facebook and Twitter have over their “followers” or those who liked their online posts. The bigger the community of people following, reading or liking your posts, the more your social capital.
This was how Mon Lizardo, an Internet pioneer, explained social capital in the last Philippine Internet Congress last year. The phrase became more relevant as the country marked Social Media Day yesterday, June 30.
There were many firsts when Philippine cities joined the worldwide celebration of Social Media Day. It was the first time the cities of Manila, Cebu, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and Davao held activities to mark the day. It was the first time people took stock of the growing social capital of people, mostly the youth, who are on social media networks.
On the same day, organizers pushed the tag of “Social Media Capital” for the Philippines, with almost one-third of the population on Facebook. Those 28 million Filipinos on the social network Facebook represent 92 percent of the total Filipino Internet population.
Social Media Day was coined by the United States-based social and technology blog Mashable in 2010 to recognize “the digital revolution happening right before our eyes.” On its website Mashable.com, organizers said, “We’ve seen how this increasingly connected world is quickly changing lives across the globe.”
In the Philippines, a recent example of how social media is affecting local communities was when a call to action to help typhoon victims in December last year went viral on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Even before government agencies could help victims in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro cities after typhoon Sendong, residents were pinpointing damaged areas and gathering relief goods.
Such was the power of social media that reports and images about the destruction were posted and shared to let the victims’ families and government know of the extent of help needed. Social media gave them power, a voice and a venue for action.
Social media is used not only for disaster situations but more, on a regular basis, for news, advertising and marketing. Companies are no longer limited to their websites for online presence. They also use social networks for a wider audience.
A person new to social networks usually starts with immediate family members and close friends in his or her circle on Facebook. As more family members and friends discover this person’s account, more people are linked to that circle. As the circle gets bigger, this person gets friend requests from acquaintances, colleagues or even strangers who are friends of friends.
This enlarged circle will mean a bigger social capital and power that can be used for the good of family, community and country.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 01, 2012.