A spectre is haunting the world — the sepctre of instability. No longer will you work for a single company for your whole life. No longer will a single company be able to ensure ongoing job protection. No longer will traditional media companies control the means of mass distribution. The power has shifted to the people and in a turbulent environment where everything is constantly changing, there is one single asset which will protect those already in power and those that wish to be catapulted into a state of significant influence: social capital.
I — Media Barons And The Bourgeoisie
Up until 5 years ago, there was a group of capitalists who owned the means of social production and were the employers of wage labor (see the communist manifesto). The influence that this group has held both in politics and in the markets is monumental. This group had access to the means of production for a long time and the rest of the world simply worked for the bourgeoisie. Even the media had complete control over how information was disseminated. The media and the industrialists had complete control by working in conjunction with one another.
II — The Social Capitalists
With the means of production (mostly digital production) now readily accessible for a much larger population, the walls around the bourgeoisie are crumbling and power has been given to the people! Now the only thing differentiating the two classes is hard work and the choice to be a leader. Through building relationships and producing quality content, social capitalists have now been given the keys to mass influence.
Ok. So maybe that wasn’t much of a manifesto but I think you get the point about how we are in the midst of a revolution in which the masses have been given access to the means of digital production. The result is that anybody can now build a following and not have to wait for the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal to do a feature story on them.
For the longest time I have focused on building traffic but not on building a tribe. After reading Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” and seeing people like Chris Brogran, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Solis, and Brian Clark build extremely powerful followings I began asking myself what sort of Tribe I was trying to build.
For the past few months I’ve been toying with the concept of “social capitalists”. After thinking about it more, I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than giving an exact definition, I’d list the 10 characteristics that “social capitalists” exemplify.
- Hustle – Social capitalists have an incredible work ethic. They will work long hours and work efficiently to build things. Whether it’s new products, new services, or improving upon existing systems, social capitalists work hard to make things happen. They don’t just talk about how things should change, they actually create it.
- Education – Social capitalists are always learning. Learning from others and learning from their own mistakes. Education is key to building a successful future and in a world where the rate of change is increasing, education is one of the only ways to stay on top.
- Continuous Improvement – Success is an iterative process. We build products and services and continue to improve them until they become something we are proud of. Social capitalists are committed to always improving because without continuous improvement all we have is mediocrity.
- Relationship Mastery – Relationships are the key to success for social capitalists. This is not measured in fans on a Facebook page or followers on Twitter. This is measured by the number of people that we have actually built relationships with through mutually shared experiences (both virtual and in person).
- Leadership – Leaders are the change agents. Without leaders, there would be nobody to follow and nobody to guide us. Social capitalists are the leaders of the tribe and are committed to learning how to improve their ability to lead.
- Integrity – There are a million ways to make a million dollars but they aren’t all ethical. True social capitalists worth with integrity and hold fast to what they believe in. If you bend your morals for the sole purpose of making more money then you are making a great sacrifice.
- Commitment To Sharing – Social capitalists take advantage of the latest technologies to share their knowledge with others. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms, we are dedicated to knowledge sharing.
- Entrepreneurial – In a world where nothing is certain, the only way to have great success is to build things with others. Social capitalists have the entrepreneurial spirit as part of their soul. They are willing to take risks in order to reap much greater rewards down the road. Those rewards come through helping others as well as receiving monetary benefits.
- Technology Adopters – Social capitalists are open to using new forms of technology, specifically new communication technologies. These technologies are leveraged to accelerate the rate of building new relationships in addition to more effectively distribute messages.
- Storytellers & Creators – Social capitalists are creators. Whether it’s products or services, they are creating. They also strive to develop messages that spread quickly in order to build awareness around the products being developed.