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3/23/2009

Social Currency

I luv the definition of “social currency” discovered via the Social Customer.

“Social currency is like a good joke. When a bunch of friends sit around and tell jokes, what are they really doing? Entertaining one another? Sure, for a start. But they are also using content -- mostly unoriginal content that they've heard elsewhere -- in order to lubricate a social occasion. And what are most of us doing when we listen to a joke? Trying to memorize it so that we can bring it somewhere else. The joke itself is social currency. "Invite Harry. He tells good jokes. He's the life of the party."
Think of this the next time you curse that onslaught of email jokes cluttering up your inbox. The senders think they've given you a gift, but all they really want is an excuse to interact with you. If the joke is good enough, this means the currency is valuable enough to earn them a response.
That's why the most successful TV shows, web sites, and music recordings are generally the ones that offer the most valuable forms of social currency to their fans. Sometimes, like with mainstream media, the value is its universality. In the US right now, the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" is enjoying tremendous ratings because it gives its viewers something to talk about with one another the next day. It's a form of mass spectacle. And, not coincidentally, what is the object of the game? To demonstrate one's facility with a variety of forms of social currency! Contestants who can answer a long stream of questions about everything from sports and movies to science and history, are rewarded with a million dollars. They are social currency champions.”

It’s got me thinking … what kinds of social currency do libraries offer via their digital presence and how can we create more valuable currency to keep our customers saying “Check out the library. It’s the life of our community.”

4 comments:

Ray@9GAG said...

Library can surely bring us value. It's the intellectual currency which is freely given away by the govt or other organizations, which is not afraid of inflation. :)

I totally agree with you about the importance of jokes and other funny stuffs in our social life.

That's why I "save" my fun stuffs. Check out http://9gag.com to have fun.

Nzl said...

interesting :)

Tony Tallent said...

What a great way to talk about social currency...the spreading of a joke. I particularly like the joke metaphor because it is fun, accessible and reminds us to take ourselves more lightly.
Tony

Dan said...

Helen; Social currency is a great topic. The Ingenesist Project has published a specification for an innovation economy built on a platform of social media.

One of the key components is the classification scheme for a knowledge inventory. Since knowledge is a derivative of information and information is warehoused in libraries, it is logical the libraries would house the community knowledge inventory. Librarians need to see this connection because innovation is a derivative of knowledge. Innovation is largely the source of all wealth.

The opportunities for libraries are huge, unfortunately they don't get it. I have tried to explain - still they don't get it. It looks like the Amazon.com classification system will work equally as well. Will they get it?

Let me know if I can help...