Social Capital, Trust and Influence

Is it What You Know or Who You know that Counts?

You have heard people say, “It’s who you know, not what you know, that counts.” Of course, what you know does count, too.  But I think that what counts the most is how the people you know feel about you! Knowing them is not enough.  Do they LIKE you? Do they TRUST you? Do they RESPECT you?

The following is an excerpt from a guest article written by Gregory Schnese, the Web Producer for,  in Jay White’s cool blog, called “Dumb Little Man.”

According to John G. Ango, an executive business coach:

“The formula for success = your human capital (what you know) times your social capital (who you know) times your reputation (who trusts you).”

When you build relationships you are increasing your social capital and reputation. You may even build your human capital too, because you can learn a lot through your relationships.

In a previous post about “Social Capital Futures,” I wrote:

When you need a friend, “social capital” beats all other investments. There is nothing so valuable as a true friend who “has your back” and is there for you in time of need. On the flip side, I love the meaning of the song, “You put me high upon a pedestal — so high that I could see eternity — you needed me….” It feels good to be important and valuable to others.

Family and real friends are the best kind of “securities.” Social media relationships can increase your social capital. I love making friends for a living as well as for fun, but there is also security in relationships.

The Center for Human Systems posted an article about building trust and influence in which they wrote:

Building Trust

The strongest relationships, which allow the most influence simply for the asking, are built over time and have been tempered through hard times. These relationships have become worthy of trust. Trust is a critical aspect of relationships where ready influence is needed. To trust you to the point of readily using my energy on your behalf, I must trust you in a larger way. This level of trust is a sense of confidence that someone will consistently behave in ways that will support our well-being. Good intentions by themselves are insufficient.

There are five primary aspects of trust. They are…

  1. Honesty
  2. Openness
  3. Keeping Agreements
  4. Understanding
  5. Loyalty    

In a previous post about “Building Trust with Social Media,” I wrote:

Trust is a key component in business (and personal) decisions. Greg Ferenstein wrote an interesting post on the Mashable blog about trust in social media, in which he quoted Professor Judith Olson, who has studied the essentials of building trust in digital communication. One of her most important findings is that “responsiveness is key” in building trust.

So, for instance, it is better to respond to a long Facebook message “acknowledging” that you received the message, rather than to wait until there’s time to send a more thorough first message.


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