Are all withdrawals from the bank of social capital account closures? Amanda Chapel seems to think so. It seems she may know something I don’t about how these things work, having sent out a tweet earlier today that bluntly calls Chris Brogan a hack.
In defence of hacks everywhere, let me riposte. Chris-gate has already with a lot of feedback, and it may certainly have affected Brogan’s credibility in the community centred around him, but does it prove the work he does is a fad? No. Does it make the work he did on Trust Agents with Julien Smith nil?
We bandy the idea of social capital around, but I’ve yet to hear anyone compare the concept to banks. We all know how stable they are lately. The reason this goes together is probably pretty simple; you have money/capital, you bank it somewhere. Duh. Only instead of institutions, we bank in ourselves.
Or do we?
We amass social capital with our every action. The ways we do this are fairly complex. And talked about. And acted on. But what we all inevitably see is people dropping the ball and making mistakes. Some of this is positioning and consistency. Everyone makes aberant posts sometimes; we forget to phrase things in a positive manner, we make too strong a request for action or perhaps we even demand, rather than request. Perhaps, in some instances, So often, when we run into a trusted image missing a step, we treat the transgression as a cardinal sin, fault the person for their mistake and terminate all contact.
Idiots. Yes. You, me, we’re both guilty of this.
People mess up. It’s total hubris in our own judgement of character to believe that this final judgement is an accurate, appropriate response to a single faux pas. Do I think Amanda Chapel’s a jerk? Yes. Does this mean I’ve stopped following her Twitter feed? No. Similarly, I’ll continue to read Chris’ blog, and comment as I feel is appropriate, because the usefulness of the information – the positive balance he retains with ME still outweighs how annoyed I’ve been with his recent trend toward self-service. But a single account-closing action still hasn’t occurred.
Because, as much as it’s easy to conceive of the Bank of Social Capital being you, and you, and me, all of us holding our own money in a virtual pillow case, our actions in the social network actually increase the value we have for and with others. The trouble in calculating this actual value is that we don’t hold the ledger. Every single person we interact with does, on our behalf. Just as we hold all of theirs.
Community is not a zero-sum game. Believing we can proclaim that any person’s single actions devalue them so thoroughly they become wholly irrelevant is pride at its best.