In sociology, social capital is the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups. Although different social sciences emphasize different aspects of social capital, they tend to share the core idea "that social networks have value". Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a university education (cultural capital or human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups.
We're all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits -- from happiness to obesity -- can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't even know.
Nicholas Christakis explores how the large-scale, face-to-face social networks in which we are embedded affect our lives, and what we can do to take advantage of this fact
2012: This talk by Nicholas Christakis focuses
on the ubiquity of social networks and their role in building social capital. He
focuses on how our social networks affect our lives and how these clusters of
networks arise. Like authors from this semester, Christakis highlights the
importance of diversity in networks. He says a network has more resources
available if members have contact with many other people as opposed to a network
where each of the members is connected to one another. During his talk,
Christakis provides images and animations to help listeners visualize and
understand the correlation between one’s network of friends/family and one’s
likelihood of becoming obese.