Idea Habitats: Whuffie & Social Capital Value Add

In a review of Tara Hunt’s new book, The Whuffie Factor, over at Social Capital Value Add I said, “I think that the terms “Whuffie” and “Social Capital Value Add” each have memetic qualities because they both come from fertile idea habitats”.

I also inserted a link to a Fast Company article by Clive Thomson that is another attempt to explain the research work of Duncan Watts.  It falls into a bit of a pop broadcast media trap by polarizing Watts findings versus Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

I don’t think that Watts & Gladwell (or the many great researchers that they are spokes people for) are polar opposites.  Like Burt’s Structural Holes & Granovetter’s Strength of Weak Ties and if I may, the concepts of brand & Social Capital Value Add … all these ideas are complimentary in my view.  They describe different aspects of interrelated networks.  I recommend reading Clive’s article. Particularly if you have a boss that wants you to go out and spend all of your time trying to schmooze influencers on the internet.

At the moment I know that Whuffie has a much better chance of surviving than Social Capital Value Add. I know this for four reasons.

Firstly, Whuffie is a term that lives in a rich idea habitat.  Tara has deftly picked up (with permission) the “ephemeral, reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorow‘s science fiction novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.  Cory already delivered Whuffie in the context of the “conversation” that has been propigated by the Cluetrain manifesto set.  Tara has given the term new social currency with all of the context of real world business examples and her personal story.

Secondly, Tara’s work itself is evidence that Whuffie is a term that has variance and can replicate, both key elements for memetic survival.  Variation is the key to natural selection and people (not t.v. ads, or billboards) are the most critical points of replication.  Cory set up Whuffie to replicate easily by being the first to release his novel for free over the Internet.

For different clusters in our social networks, i.e. investors and senior managers tuned to value based management, brand valuation and Economic Value Added, Social Capital Value Add is set up in these same ways.

It has been released in free e-book form.  It has had some success in being replicated in much appreciated blog posts and through ChangeThis, but I recognize that I am trying to resonate with networks that I do not have deep personal connections.  A cross-disciplinary solution is required.  It really takes collective input from a variety of experts to give this term life.

For more on Idea Habitats please grab the ebook and check the “Exertion of Influence” section from page 18 to 25.  There you find my attempt to dig into these concepts a bit more, for example through Fig. 6 from the ebook below:

A mash up of Watts, Pew Internet Life research & Heath & Berger's Idea Habitats

A mash up of Watts, Pew Internet Life research & Heath & Berger