Why & How to Build Social Capital Online

Have you noticed this:

– Guy Kawasaki launches a site and on its first day his site gets 261,214 hits.

– Jason Calacanis asks for feedback on a design idea for his site and hundreds of people contribute thoughtful ideas.

I can think of a dozens of examples like that where an internet entrepreneur who has social capital uses it to build a better business than an internet nobody.

Tara Hunt noticed this. She wrote a book about it called The Whuffie Factor. Whuffie is the word she uses to describe the amount of social capital you have.

I called her up and recorded a 42-minute interview that you can use as a seminar on how to build your social capital. We went through a set of clear steps that you can follow and I made sure we clarified each one with a real-world example.

If you’re building an online business listen to this podcast. Then get the people you’re working with to come here and listen to it. Your competitors already know this stuff. You have some catching up to do.

Oh, and get the book, because my conversation with Tara is like a seminar, but it’s only an introductory seminar. The details are in the book.

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt


Tara Hunt is the author of The Whuffie Factor. The book shows how any business can harness its power by increasing their Whuffie, the store of social capital that is the currency of the digital world.

21 thoughts on “Why & How to Build Social Capital Online – with Tara Hunt

  1. Elmer Thomas says:

    Great articulation on the power of online networking and its long term value. Thanks!

  2. Wow, I’ve been looking for a word to describe this social capital. Now I’ve got it. Great job Andrew. I love seeing posts like this one, and interviews full of valuable information.

  3. Erin Ely says:

    Very helpful. I am always looking for good information to assist me with the social networking information. Sometimes it just seems so overwhelming trying to figure it all out.

  4. Rayfil Wong says:

    Hi Tara,

    I agree with embracing chaos.
    Entrepreneurs and innovators understand that chaos is movement and synergy in the community, and it involves participation.

    In reality, it is a great thing.

    It is healthy. Embracing chaos also involves embracing change.

  5. Great example of Tony, Zappos and pragmatic insights from Tara.
    Go Tony !!

  6. Looking forward to the book coming out.

  7. Great podcast. The idea of whuffie makes a lot of sense and as a recent college grad I'm trying to earn it first and then leverage it in finding a full time position. Whuffie is something everyone should take into consideration!

  8. AndrewWarner says:

    What I love about this interview is how many examples she gave. I need
    examples to illustrate points and help me understand them. Tara was amazing
    at whipping them up.

    Thanks for the comment Chelsea!

  9. I have heard Tara speak before and I think this might be the most relaxed and accessible I remember hearing her. Congrats on a great interview.

  10. AndrewWarner says:

    Great stories. And she introduced me to Tony from Zappos. She really is
    amazing. Thanks for pointing it out.

  11. Sharonhps says:

    Excellent stuff

  12. Sharonhps says:

    Hope to see her in person with Kawasaki?

  13. AndrewWarner says:

    Thanks. She's wonderful.

  14. AndrewWarner says:

    Is she doing an event with him? I didn't know.

  15. Kaiser says:

    Excellent interview – you termed it properly, social capital – overlooked and simultaneously the most valuable, especially today – this is at the heart of success in many industries – and at the heart of social success –

    Great job to Tara for identifying and expounding on the concept so well – for the socially backwards (like me), this should lead to the consciousness of the idea that can lead to some positive growth and change –

    Thanks for the incredibly valuable site and leadership role Andrew –

  16. Ack, a single person can not have social capital. Social capital is a property of a network or community. While there are various definitions, here's a decent working one: It's the connectedness, trust, and reciprocity within the community that gives it the capacity for change.

    As individual, you can build social capital, and those actions can benefit you, but the social capital you build is not yours. Rather, social capital is more like a commons. You can contribute and benefit, but it is not your property. It's shared.

    Here's the problem with this individualistic and inaccurate framing social capital. It's a linguistic enclosure of a commons. We should not fence off that which is common property in our minds or in real life. If we do, we destroy that which we depend on for our very survival. Our fates are tied by those collective structures which bind us together and give us the capacity for adaptation.

  17. Erin Kennedy says:

    Wonderful Summary of her book!

  18. Erin Kennedy says:

    Wonderful Summary of her book!

  19. myrna.bloodworth says:

    I’ve generated $84 ,000 up till now sometime this year working on line and consequently I am only a full time student . I’m taking advantage of a home based business opportunity I heard of and after that I’ve earned such decent cash . It is actually really user-friendly and also I’m just too satisfied that I discovered out about that . The possibility using this is never-ending . Here’s exactly what I do>>>

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