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Building Social Capital in the Digital World

There’s an art to using social media and digital forums to build relationships and to amplify your voice. Thoughtful professionals in the mutual fund and ETF industry will think twice before they hit “submit.”

Social capital, the international currency of business networking, is built through hundreds of actions we take every day. We build it – or tear it down – via electronic, telephone, written or in person interaction. The relationships and reputation we build over time has become a currency. In today’s digital world, tweeting and posting on social media sites and discussion boards are ways to have a voice. But good old-fashioned manners and thoughtful, balanced comments are sometimes in short supply.

Even the most informed professionals sometimes suffer from pushing the “send” or “submit” button too quickly. One thoughtless tweet that got global attention in December 2013 occurred when a PR professional (not the author of this article, mind you) who was traveling to Africa tweeted something she thought was funny right before the plane took off. In the three hours she was in flight without Internet connectivity, a Twitter hailstorm took place. When the executive landed, she had some explaining to do. Ultimately, this executive was fired from her job.

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