wise elephant, making it happen

The Joy Connection and Good Social Capital

By Jason Moriber • Jun 24th, 2010 • Category: Thinkering

(this post was originally published at the blog NewCommBiz, the below is a “reprint”)

In my Social Capital system everything starts with time; it’s the fundamental currency that I trade on. As example: It can take an author fifteen-years to write a book about a four-hundred-year-era that a reader ingests over a three-day-weekend. The author, rooted in time, produces the magic of encapsulating value into a pod (the book). The reader frees it, galloping through history, shredding time, getting lost in time, losing track of time.

If we root ourselves within time, Social Capital is produced. If we free ourselves from time, Social Capital can be shared. This is the trick! I work hard, using my time and labor to create something; writing a post like this one, helping a friend move, or baking a cake. I then bring it to my audience to share. By sharing it I free it to transcend time, to become energy that can be re-utilized. This post you’re reading now might give fuel to Tac’s (or your) Social Media fire, helping my friend move will strengthen our bond, sharing cake makes everyone happy. The goal is to infuse the Social Capital with longevity, allowing this initial energy to be transferred. The joy of eating cake is then infused within the next engagement (the cake-eater smiles a little bit brighter at their friends).

The “energy-power” is amplified through the craft and sincerity of the creation. The “energy-longevity” is then embedded through the resonation and engagement with the audience.

There are two main types of Social Capital:

  1. Produced Resonance (which makes up 90% of the Social Capital I witness, the one we can make ourselves through our efforts –writing posts, baking cakes).
  2. Spectacular Magnetism (which relies on serendipity and a relinquishing of control. We can foster and harness it, but not create it).

When Produced Resonance is injected into a market it’s energy-power is transferred into states such as joy, insight, satisfaction, and nourishment. When successful, this power spreads across the widest path and touches many people. In comparison, Spectacular Magnetism isn’t injected into the market; it attracts the market. The results are similar (joy, insight, satisfaction, etc.) but the production is less about the effort.  The creation of Spectacular Magnetism is more about imbibing and channeling the intangibles that match the zeitgeist of the era, or a unique tune-in to the tenets of a culture, or an ability to represent ones own world in a way that everyone feels like they own a piece of it. There is a relinquishing of the self, or a part of a persona, to open up your heart for the audience to find what they desire within it.

A good way to illustrate these two types of Social Capital is through food. Produced Resonance is exemplified within the produce section of the supermarket. We (those who have regular access to stocked supermarkets) take the plenty provided for us for granted. It’s hard not to. The trucks arrive during the night; the first shift stocks the cases before dawn. The electricity invisibly channels through the grid to keep the produce cold. There are the farmers, the pickers, the shippers, the distributors; all are involved in the process. It’s a complexity of unseen heroics so we can eat bananas every day of the year.

Time is inherent within the supermarket produce. There are so many people’s actions rooted in time to get the produce to the place where we can purchase it. The supermarket then presents the produce in its most vulnerable state: near ripeness. It’s the exact perfect time to free all the produces’ stored up capital into satisfaction, nourishment, and joy. Supermarkets have done such a good job at separating the food from time that most of us rarely consider the crazy supply chain that shipped that bunch of bananas to that particular case. At this stage it’s our goal to free the capital, to free time from the pages of the book, to become free from time.

Spectacular Magnetism is found within special, less obviously manufactured paths. Imagine I offered you a peach at full ripeness, just plucked from the tree in my backyard. Could you reject it? I didn’t create the tree; I planted and nurtured it. I didn’t make the peach ripe, the sun did, but I picked it, washed it, and offered it to you. If our histories and cultures align just enough, we’ll have a shared mythology about giving, friendship, food, and life. My giving you a peach from my own tree is more powerful than buying you a case of peaches from the supermarket. The time element is obvious. There’s the tree, which is growing in the present, I can touch it. Here’s the peach, in our shared time together, not in the magical display case at the supermarket.

Your acceptance and enjoyment of the peach, which is chock full of energy-power, infuses you with energy-longevity. This transference of energy through Social Capital will spread beyond your being and influence those in your proximity.

These Social Capital currencies are as old as eating. These currencies are stronger than any artificially manufactured market-capitalization. Social Capital has the potential to satisfy the human yearn for genuine concern, an honesty in message, and the selflessness of gift giving.

The transference of joy is one of the many paths that enable good Social Capital.

Build more joy!


Jason Moriber is a veteran product/project/marketing manager, underground artist/musician, and online community developer, Jason expertly builds/produces/manages clients' projects, programs, and campaigns. Follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/jelefant
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