The Whuffie Factor: The 5 Keys for Maxing Social Capital and Winning with Online Communities

Tara Hunt (Buyosphere)
Marketing & Community
Location: 2006
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 20 ratings)

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.

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.” 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 essential (book coming out with Crown Publishing in Fall 2008), providing the strategic map and specific tactics for success in the lucrative, but strange and elusive world of online communities. 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.

As one who has actually launched a company using the power of online communities, and who now advises big and small companies, Tara Hunt was named one of the Digital Utopians who populate Web 2.0, along with luminaries like Jimmy Wales and Tim O’ Reilly by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Photo of Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt

Buyosphere

Tara ‘miss rogue’ Hunt has spent most of her adult life online, either participating in or building communities. From the first wave of online marketing when she was in Canada, showing companies how to brave this new medium, all the way to being part of one of the companies in Silicon Valley that led the wave into Web 2.0: the participatory web.

Tara understands how the the participatory web is changing all of our relationships: B2C, B2B and C2C. She doesn’t believe in pushing messages or creating strong brands, only in the power of building relationships. She co-founded Citizen Agency in 2006 with the mission of teaching her clients how to work more effectively with the communities they serve and how to embrace and adjust to all of the changes in culture businesses are facing. She maintains a successful blog over at HorsePigCow.

Tara’s book The Whuffie Factor comes out in April 2009. She is also very much involved in grassroots online communities, spending all of her free time on Barcamp, Coworking, Zipkarma and Winecamp. She is also a supporter of the Open Source movement, the EFF, Creative Commons and community-based standards movements like Microformats and OpenID.

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Comments

Debbie Gorski
04/02/2009 8:24pm PDT

Tara is a wonderful speaker! Her approach to social networking reminds us all to keep it positive, give back to the community and keep it fun is important!

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