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The Evolution from Social Media to Relationship Capital

There is a quote recycled on occasion on Twitter that is attributed to me. It’s goes like this:

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” ~David Alston

It does sum up my view of social. Yes social media can be an engagement channel, a source of insight or a content distribution network. For me it’s magic has always been around the topic of relationships. The discovery, building and maintaining of relationships. Social media has done a great job reminding businesses about the power of relationships. It’s also shown business leaders that while sales and customer service are paid to focus on relationships, many in an organization also can play an important role. We have never been as connected as individuals as we are right now, and we are often forming these relationships based on our passions and interests and less around only geography.

So, it should come as no surprise that my next startup adventure would be all about the power of these relationships. Actually, we are referring to it as relationship capital to be more specific. For me, relationship capital is similar to that other term we often hear, social capital, but its more inclusive. The term not only covers relationship connections across social, but also those nurtured and captured in email, calendar events and in a CRM. The “capital” aspect covers who these connections are, the strength of the bond between them, and how relevant they are to any specific situation – including our jobs. You can also equate the sum of this relationship capital across an entire organization, all the while protecting each person’s privacy and making their participation a choice.

This is the space Introhive plays in, and it’s where I’ve found my new home. I am joining two other co-founders, Jody Glidden and Stewart Walchli, and nearly 18 other superstars as co-founder and CMO. I have been spoiled before working with amazing talent at Radian6/Salesforce, so I was more than pleased when I met Jody and Stewart. Great guys, successful entrepreneurs, no egos and super smart. And to top it all off, we’ve also assembled some of that wicked-awesome Radian6 talent here at Introhive, including our VP of Marketing, Rob Begg, and VP Sales, Rich McInnis. It is truly amazing to work with people you love, while forging ahead with a passionate community to help create a brand new space.

So I look forward to bumping into many familiar faces while out making friends with new ones. So, got an opinion on relationship capital and the potential it holds for any organization? Please let me hear about it here or @davidalston.

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