The Biggest Challenge to Building Social Capital

I am participating in the Foundations of the Social Age MOOC and as a way of making sense of what I am learning I am reflecting in this blog space.  Over the past week we have been exploring social capital and the challenges we face trying to build it.

According to Julian Stodd is Social Capital can be defined as “our ability to survive and thrive in online social spaces, but it’s also about our responsibilities to safeguard others.”

Figure: Building Social Capital. Image from United Way.

This week one of the thing that struck me was a discussion on the challenges you might encounter building social capital.

Ian pointed me to a session that Julian presented at Learning Technologies in London with Sarah Mason.  Sarah’s part was called ”Why won’t people share nicely? – Knowledge sharing using collaborative technology

Ian shared that this presentation helped him to slow down his search for a technology based solution and made him start investigating the social side and he even started a Working Out Loud circle where his goal is to: ”I want to be better at openly collaborating (outside meeting or personal contacts).”

My discussion with Ian made me realize that one of the biggest challenges to building social capital is fear – our own fears, the fears of others & the fears of the organization.

For me personally, I think until I can get through my own fear of sharing within my organization, I won’t really be able to help others build their social capital.  Which to me, is the whole point of social leadership – to support and help others so that we can solve the problems we face in the social age.

Thanks Ian and Sarah for the aha moments this week.

What do you see as the biggest challenge to building social capital?  Let me know in the comments below.


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