Mashable.com, the popular online magazine for all things tech and social media, uses what it refers to as “the mashable velocity graph” to visually illustrate how quickly people are sharing articles from it’s website (it’s the squiggly worm in the bottom corner of the article box). In the age of information and social network connectivity sharing content online is as easy as choosing your network of preference and pressing a button.
Pierre Bourdieu (1930 – 2002) a French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher pioneered, among many terms, the concept of social capital to reveal the dynamics and power relations in social life.
Social currency, a term derived from Bourdieu’s social capital theory, is the actual and potential value that arises from the presence in social networks and communities, including in the online realm. Social currency is about increasing the sense of community, granting access to information and knowledge, and providing status and recognition.
Social networks have value for businesses. For organizations like Mashable, who’s core activity is content management, delivering information and providing options for it to be shared and distributed online through social networks, creates brand interaction and engagement which ultimately results in increased social currency. Through the use of tools like the “velocity graph” Mashable not only measures the popularity of it’s content online but also creates, with the help of a visual aid, an incentive for individuals to share “hot content” with others, tapping directly to the power of social networks to create social capital for it’s brand.