Reflect on a time you were a part of an online event that was trying to establish social capital. How could this event been improved?
An example that came to mind is fantasy football. This example is trivial, but is a simple example of an online event where you are trying to establish social capital. Most fantasy football leagues are conducted online for the most part. Most adults or even college students do not have time to meet every week to discuss rosters or injury reports. This is done completely online and for the few fantasy football online meeting rooms, the interfaces are impressive and quite extensive if you consider their purpose.
The specific event that each participant must establish social capital would be the initial draft before the league begins. This online event each of the participants must come up with a team name, potential style of offense and defense, past fantasy league experience, most current record, and other optional notes. Some of the optional notes that I have seen have included former or present playing experience, sport knowledge event awards, and any other accolade that would establish them as a threatening player. I did not participate fully partly because I had no idea the profiles would be so extensive and so competitive. Although the draft is normally random or based on past rules, during the season trades are allowed and this is where player’s profiles come into play. If your profile looks unimpressive a player may not consider doing a player transaction with you. Also, higher level more experience players have establish a recognizable relationships with certain players and league administrators. This all influences the success of the player in the league.
Although fantasy football leagues are insignificant in the grand scheme of life, they illustrate how people and platforms plan to establish an online presence and social capital. The social capital from online fantasy leagues may not carry over into the real world, but it does illustrate how a person’s social capital can be utilized and managed. It is also a prime example of network capital. Manuel Acevedo discusses this network capital in “Network Capital: an Expression of Social Capital in a Network Society:”
“When the interaction takes place among members of an electronic network, which are likely loosely-knit in geographic terms, the resulting social capital is network based. Network capital could then be understood as a measure of the differentiated value in the Information Age that communities structured as social networks generate on the basis of electronic (digital) networks for themselves, for others and for society as a whole.”
Loosely-knit networks is an accurate description of fantasy football leagues. Yes, many of players are friends, but many are friends of friends of co-workers and so forth. The network is tightly knit in some areas, but not throughout. Manuel Acevedo continues in explaining how network capital works:
“It is a result of cooperation via electronic networks, and in turn fosters the habit of such cooperation. This cooperation includes sharing of information and the use of computer-mediated-communications but it goes further towards group work, the creation of specific products, and the achievement of set objectives”
“It is created by communities of interest, where membership is based on personal interest, skills, background/experience and sharing of a common purpose. While network technologies allow for anyone in the world with Internet access to take part (in fact many virtual communities are geographically dispersed), physical proximity may be a factor as well.”
Network capital holds important potential for human development and specifically for development cooperation, where global and local issues mix fluidly in the processes leading to greater options for people and improved living conditions. The global citizen will have more possibilities to become involved in social causes, with lesser constraints of place or time.
Acevedo descriptions of network capital correlates with how online fantasy football leagues are coordinated. It is interesting to see how serious these leagues are and the amount of money you can win as a prize. Below is a link to a fantasy league’s money rules. As you can see, people are buying in large to compete for large money prizes at the end of the season!