Raising your Whuffie

by Justin Souter on June 12, 2009

This post looks at the importance of Social Capital online.

For those of you who attended Thinking Digital recently, we were treated to Tara Hunt tour-de-force which, unfortunately, was too quick & snappy for me to live blog :-(. I’m therefore embedding the presentation so you can see for yourself. :-)

As a result of her presentation, I have recently read, and am now re-reading “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom”, a classic IMHO. In it, Cory Doctorow introduces the concept of Whuffie.

Tara explains Whuffie in the Social Media context

Doing some business development-related research, I found this rather fine summary from Tara herself about Whuffie, and what it’s all about. Enjoy!

The Whuffie Factor from missrogue on Vimeo.

Tara is currently plugging her book The Whuffie Factor, of which this is a summary:

The book that will catch the crest of Web 2.0 and show how any business can harness its power by increasing their Whuffie, the store of social capital that is the currency of the digital world.

Everyone knows about blogs and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. And they’ve heard about someone who has used them to grow a huge customer base. Everyone wants to be hands-on, grass roots and interactive. But what does this mean? And more to the point, how do you do it?

As one who has actually launched a company using the power of online communities, and who now advises big and small companies, Tara Hunt is the perfect person to do this book. The San Francisco Chronicle, in fact, named her as one of the Digital Utopians who populate Web 2.0, along with luminaries like Jimmy Wales and Tim O’ Reilly and Fast Company named her one of the Most Influential Women in Tech.

While The Whuffie Factor will traverse the landscape of Web 2.0 and show you how to become a player, it is not just another book about online marketing. People see the huge business potential of the online world and the first impulse is: let’s throw a bunch of money at it. To which Tara Hunt says: “Stop! Money isn’t the capital of choice in online communities, it is Whuffie – social capital – and how to raise it is the heart of this book.” In the Web 2.0 world, market capital flows from having high social capital. Without Whuffie you lose your connections and any recommendation you make will be seen as spam, met with negative reactions and a loss of social capital.

The Whuffie Factor is a breakthrough book, providing the strategic map and specific tactics for success in the lucrative, but strange and elusive world of online communities. As Tara Hunt has found, online success comes from building a community and being part of it – not by pushing a product or service. If you want to learn the secret sauce behind Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, you have to use them until you love them.

The Whuffie Factor is already on my Amazon wishlist… ;-)

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