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Printing Social Currency; Influence vs. Intentions

What is more valuable, their Influence or their intentions?

The heat is on to discover a new currency

Obviously, money is supposed to represent productivity otherwise why would people work for it?  But, everyone is pretty much resigned to the fact that the dollar – and indeed most global currency – is irreversibly divorced from actual productivity.

No Alternative  Algorithm?

The reason why people must trade dollars is that there is no other alternative, and the computer algorithms that control the value of the currency have yet to tell us otherwise.  That’s it, really.  The questions remain, how, why, and when will people stop working for it and what will they work for which can replace it?

This will not be as simple as living in yurts, trading cheese cultures and tweeting about it. Complex infrastructure like a judicial system, transportation, medical care, clean water, energy and food production rely on a financial system that can capitalize and securitize whatever the replacement currency may be.

Influence vs. intention

The latest twist in the new currency movement is the idea that on-line influence can be used to support a currency.  There is no shortage of noble leaders aspiring to “define the standard” in their own image as a service to the lesser masses who seek their respective place in the great new economic void.  PeerIndex and Klout are the two main players that promote a social score based on influence, obstensibly to mimic the credit score upon which all currency depends.

Bad Influence is worse than no influence

Unfortunately, influence is a flawed measure.  Marketers are the target beneficiaries of such influence which is clearly defined as the ability to get other people to take action on a marketing message. My ability to influence others to buy Twinkies does not an economy make. In other words – influence is a consumption currency, not a production currency.

A far better marker is “intention”

For comparison; today, money is conjured into existance by banks based on the signature of a loan candidate who states in writing their intention to produce enough value by their future words and actions to exceed the value of the currency being borrowed (created from thin air) plus interest.  That’s how debt works.  That “intention” is then capitalized, combined with the intentions of others, and securitized into bonds that finance important social services and institutions that support those intensions.

Likewise, a social currency may be similarly conjured into existence – based on a person’s promise to increase human productivity in the future, not however, to increase human consumption in the future.  The social marker for the next currency must be an intension to produce something, not an intension to consume something.  The real danger, of course, is if we define the next currency as just another consumption currency or whether it can truly be married to productivity.

Obviously, it would be helpful to have an inventory of what value an individual is willing and able to produce in the future since this is the best marker of intensions.  It would be even more helpful if there were a public knowledge inventory of what value people in a community are able and willing to produce together.  I’ll stop here because a knowledge inventory for communities does not exist – and curiously, none of the great minds in Social Media are clamoring to define that standard.

Likewise, that is where the great opportunity for the future resides.

Sell-ebrity Sects

Waiting in the grocery store checkout line, there is never a shortage of glossy media about the sex lives of Celebrities. The stories are always the same, only the Celebrities change.

There are no glossy tabloids in the DIY check-out line where the objective is to check you out as fast as possible in order to meet a competitive “service quota”. In either case, however, the consumer is being extorted of value.

A sect is a group with distinctive religious, political or philosophical beliefs. In modern culture the term can refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles. A sellebrity is someone who sells distraction for a living – they may talk about something that sounds like productivity, but it is really a distraction designed to maintain a status quo.

When marketers want you to do the same thing over and over again, you get Sellebrity Sects.  When marketers want you to change your behavior, they remove the Sellebrity sects.  The absence of sellebrities is equally interesting, and somewhat counter intuitive.   Yet, consumers think it is the exact opposite.  In either case, the consumer is extorted of value.

Sellebrity Sects refers to a set of rules or principles set out as different from the rest and used for the specific purpose of liberating you from your values; your time value, social values, financial values, even your family values.

Social media is introducing a host of new Sellebrities peddling some object designed to fortify their credibility, usually a book tour, keynote address, “Reputation”, social currency, or an A-list client. The ‘pitchman’ preoccupies the consumer into standing still long enough to create an arbitrage position for those who can exploit the TIME that you are not acting – either for branding or automating. When the arbitrage position collapses, a new sect is formed and the game continues.

Keep in mind that “Value” exists in many different forms, the game is intense, Time is the currency, and the story never changes. Look at the sellebrities all around you. Ask yourself why they are there. Try to identify the sects. Guard your social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital very carefully – use it to increase your productivity alone.  Most of all, be different – they will either ignor you or pay you.

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