Following from Loic Le Meur blog post on "Twitter: We Need Search By Authority", Matt Ghuniem had a great insight: popularity is not authority. This then brings out the question of what is authority? It turns out that authority, as defined by the ability to drive responses, traffic and attention, is very much related to social capital.
If we loop the argument, then it is clear that social capital is beyond a theoritical concept. It has powerful business applications, with search being one of the examples. It also has the potential to change how people are valued in terms of job applications, fund raising, business networking, dating et al. It will change how marketing can be done (Imagine a person with high capital visits your online store, will you change your offerings to beter catch his attention in the hope that he will let others know?)
All these however, requires a new way to measure and capture social capital. This ties in nicely with a great post entitled: 'future of measurement' that talks about the need to capture things that are important and not well accounted for. I wanted to share the 4 key predictions that I think has absolutely nailed what will be important in the upcoming age of capturing non-financial capital i.e social, human et al:
- We will substantially advance our understanding of individuals and the meaningful connections they have.
- We will identify methods to tap what people are *really* thinking, feeling, and paying attention to, meanwhile gaining insight on what a measurement is truly capturing.
- We will determine how to measure the value of social interactions and attach financial value, whether we’re monetizing attention or a new medium.
- We will build better tools to manage-- analyze and visualize-- massive volumes of data, primarily tapping the evolving social graph.
If you are a startup and wants a rich area to build products/services on, this is one of the things you should think about. If you want examples of how a measurement startup can look like, learn from Amee.