For Lloyd it was an experiment to see how friends and contacts made through online social networks could be converted into material commodities.
So how does UGC fit into this I hear you cry? Well Lloyd wanted to test the relationships he’d made via UGC platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to see if they stood up in real life. A big criticism lots of the social media skeptics pile onto these platforms is that you waste time connecting to and talking to people you don’t know or have never met – it’s nothing like real life networking and getting to know people.
Lloyd disagreed and wanted to prove the value of an online network.
He flew out to San Francisco and travelled across the States to Texas for worldwide tech conference SXSW. He had no money and so had to rely on donations of food, transport, accommodation and money from his social networks.
He did it and is still in America planning to move on to New Orleans and New York before heading back to London exchanging social capital for real life stuff. Lloyd told me that the main thing he’s learnt so far is that sometimes you think you’re spending social capital when actually you’re making it. Also that it’s tempting to think of it like money and that it gets up when you use it, but sometimes it can increase when you use it.
He’ll be writing up his findings in more details on his return and we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for an update.
I asked him who’s been the most generous, what bits of tech he couldn’t have done it without and what he enjoyed most about SXSW. Oh and what his experiment had taught him about social capital 🙂
By Lucy Hewitt