"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of little fortune, must be in want of more social capital."
So wrote Jane Austen, or she would have, I think, if she were chronicling our current age (instead we have Taylor Lorenz, and thank goodness for that).
Let's begin with two principles:
People are status-seeking monkeys*
People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital
* Status-Seeking Monkeys will also be the name of my indie band, if I ever learn to play the guitar and start a band
I begin with these two observations of human nature because few would dispute them, yet I seldom see social networks, some of the largest and fastest-growing companies in the history of the world, analyzed on the dimension of status or social capital.
Hat tip: Ryan Barrett
stunning analysis of social networks as products: https://www.eugenewei.com/blog/2019/2/19/status-as-a-service . many insights i’d never heard before. (beware though, almost 20k words!)