In an interview, Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor, talked about spreading the wealth online to pay for a better life offline. She said that she'd heard the word "whuffie" around on the Web. "Karma" is what she thought it meant. She had been meaning to read Gory's book. It occurred to her that there's no money in this whuffie thing -- it's just a score. That's exactly how people relate to one another in online communities: They let people in and whuffie grows. She added that it's definitely realistic for any business to be successful in social media. Anyone who has a customer can build, deep into the culture, this way of approaching service that's all about whuffie-building.

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									                                                Whuffie Doesn’t
                                                Grow on Trees
                                                Forget money: Trust, transparency, and value represent
                                                today’s social currency

                                                           ara Hunt’s got whuffie. When understatement: The next day, Hunt
                                                           the author and social media opened her door to find not only her
                                                           consultant blogs, or updates, package, but three UPS deliverymen,
                                                           or twitters, people tend to lis- sporting flowers and chocolates, ready to
                                                ten—and react.                               assemble its contents for her.
                                                   Take, for instance, an encounter Hunt       A lucky coincidence? Maybe. But Hunt
                                                had with UPS last year. Having                        says these instances occur not
                                                rearranged her schedule to ac- “Every step of the because of money, not because
                                                commodate a package delivery, way we are              of chance, but because of
                                                Hunt voiced her frustrations on                       something much bigger—
                                                Twitter when the UPS delivery
                                                                                   adding and         whuffie. Hunt’s new book The
                                                was delayed. Within minutes retooling our             Whuffie Factor, which hit
                                                she heard back from friend and whuffie levels.”       shelves in April, delves into
                                                fellow twitterer Tony Hsieh, the                      the topic of social capital. (See
                                                chief executive officer of Required Reading, below, for a Q&A
                                                Hsieh happened to be having dinner with with Hunt about the topic; also see Denis
                                                the president of UPS’s Pacific Region and Pombriant’s Reality Check column,“The
                                                assured Hunt that her problems would New Currency of Social Media,” in our
                                                be taken care of. Turns out, that was an June 2009 special issue on Social Media.)

REQUIRED READING                                                                             entry in social media is still the question
                                                                                             of measuring return on investment. How

CASHING IN ON SOCIAL                                                                         can organizations buy in?
                                                                                                 Hunt: Some things you can measure.
                                                                                             There are tools for monitoring sentiment

       ure, whuffie is a funny word—but         about spreading the wealth online to pay     and who’s talking about you, how it links
       hey, social networking’s a funny         for a better life offline.                   to your networks, and how that might
       concept. Despite the sometimes              CRM magazine: Where did “whuffie”         translate into sales. What you’re missing in
impersonal nature of social media—how           come from?                                   the measuring [is] the spillage on all the
can I interact with someone I’ve never             Tara Hunt: I’d heard the word around      whuffie. The social capital that you’re
met?—the recent explosion in its popu-          on the Web, [where] I’d been involved in     gaining from that is contribu
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