The Future of Social Currency


The Branded Debit card has long been a staple of the vanity financial services industry.  Having your favorite football team, alma mater, or non-profit proudly displayed upon your purchasing prowess is a clever offshoot of those printed checks of days gone by.  Now, in the age of social media, YOU are the brand. Your product is your information and the information that passes through your social graph.

Self-branding

The most valuable asset is not who you’ve known in the past – many of those relationships are played out.  Rather, it is whom you will know in the future.   Your future connections are where all new innovation will be valued – all the decisions that are yet to be made and all the intentions yet to be acted upon. The only metric that can accurately predict this is your knowledge inventory; what you know, what you are talented in, and what you enjoy doing.  You are the future maker.

Next generation debit card

The next generation of debit cards will allow anyone to deposit value in your account, but only you will be able to take it off your account. So, instead of giving away your knowledge inventory to Facebook where marketers can scrape it for free, you can associate your most valuable asset to an electronic account number and treat it like a currency.  There are very strong laws in place regarding usage and re-usage of financial information.

Hello, my name is 5412 7512 3456 7890

If anyone wants to see what’s behind this number, they need to give you something – they need to play The Value Game.  The more valuable your knowledge inventory is to a vendor, the more they will pay to access it.  Now here is the twist:

Leveraging Knowledge Assets

Suppose you are a famous person, your brand may serve as an knowledge inventory of your followers. Fans who associate themselves with your brand can receive vendor coupons that you negotiate for them.  If you like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, you can negotiate with the ice cream maker to place a 1.00 coupon on the cards of your 1M followers.  You have the power to leverage your social currency into financial currency for your followers who then transform it into more social currency for you soon you’ll have 2M followers. You can promote matching funds for your charity, treat your fans to a free beer on their birthday, or double their frequent flyer miles for flying to your concert, etc.

Suppose that you are not very famous

A mechanical engineer who publishes a paper on a better way to install solar panels may speak at a conference.  Their brand consists of a highly specialized group of people who will each likely talk to many people about solar energy application within the next year.   It is worthwhile for a group of vendors to pay down your airfare and apply discounts to your audience and youtube video.  This set of incentives will reward professionals for producing new knowledge which benefits a broader community.

Everyone is famous to everyone else

If given the right incentives and generalized across a community, people will venture into their community to build social currency.  Visionary social enterprise will help them to do it.  Those who stick to the old ad model of “scam and spam” will be systematically played out of the Value Game.

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