Online Presence – Asset of the Future: Why Your Social Graph Will Be Worth as Much as Your Home


The other day prolific blogger and VC Fred Wilson was at the gym. Frustrated with his ability to read the links in his Twitter stream, Fred twittered this-

“Is there a 3rd party Twitter app that builds a link page based on my follows? If not, someone should build it. It would be my start page”

With in a few days Fred received responses from a bunch of people who had built something based on his tweet. By the end of the week Fred had the custom app he was looking for.

I’ve watched this happen with Fred a couple of times. I’m seeing it a lot lately. People with large, authentic, followings are able to leverage those followings for tremendous gain. Watching this has made me realize a persons social graph, their number of followers, their social media reach is an asset, a HUGE ASSET!

Traditionally; homes, 401k’s, and cars are the most valuable personal assets of the average person. Looking forward, I see a persons social graph added to the list and possibly topping the list with the exception of the home.

In the not to distant future, a baseline online social presence will be required for the most common of lifes exercises, like getting a job. In the future, if you don’t have some semblance of an online presence you won’t even be considered for the job. If employers, or recruiters can’t learn about you online, through your social graph, they won’t be interested. I expect online vetting of dates, baby sitters, potential employees, etc. will only increase. Having an online social presence will be the required price to play.

If I am right and an authentic online social graph will be required to play, then a large, sweeping, highly engaging, informative, online social graph will be worth it’s followers in gold.

A strong online social graph allows us to do a lot of things.

Get help – On a couple of occasions, I’ve screwed up my blog. Each time I got stuck trying to fix, folks from within my social graph helped me out. People I’ve never met, in some cases they were people I never even knew were in my social graph, but were readers of this blog or followers of followers on Twitter.

Get Information – I watched Fred request and get help with a number things including; how to plot a power curve, do you know what a power curve is? Apparently some people do. Fred got what he needed.

Promotion – If Seth Godin points to a blog post, views of that post go through the roof. I recently watched the chatter about Socialcast, a Twitter for the enterprise company, blow up after A-List Blogger Chris Brogan mentioned his company was using and liking Socialcast. A strong online social presence exponentially grows your influence.

Ideas – Not sure what to do, how to attack a problem or need a spark of creativity, corraling the masses could make the difference. With a strong social graph collaboration is only a few key strokes away.

In the future, getting a job, raising money, promoting your e-book, getitng a seat at the exclusive restaurant, becoming the exclusive restaurant will be determined by the asset of the future, your online social graph.

Today Oprah, undoubtedly has the greatest reach in the world. Built by traditional media this reach is a real asset she leverages every week. She uses it to give her guests glamorous free gifts or turns uknown authors into overnight sensations. Traditionally, only those in media had reach. That’s changing. In the very near future everyone will have some level of reach. The question will no longer be do you have reach, but how much reach do you have?

Soon, how much money you have, the neighborhoods you live in, the jobs you get, the schools you attend, the friends you have, and your overall success or failure will directly correlate to your online social graph.

A social graph will be most peoples largest asset besides their home. It will have real value. It will have liquidity It will rise and fall in value.

The asset of the future will be your social graph. Have you started investing in it? You should be. Like most assets, the returns are much higher when you get in early.