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Social currency has become the new measure of success

Ravi Raman Iyer

Strategic Planner


What signifies success for this increasingly young and virtual generation? Is it the size of the bank account or the length of the car? Ostentatious displays of success and status are a social no-no, of course. No one really “likes” the “pics” of the your new sedan or your check-ins at the international airport. Been there, done that, boring.

To the young generation, success is not the “monetary capital” you’ve accumulated, it’s talk- worthy “social capital” you display. A Turkey vacation after reading Orhan Pamuk, capturing the Byzantine mosques gives you a lot more social currency than the mandatory “pic” in front of Big Ben in London. You have backpacked in Europe away from the tourist circuit and posted about hidden gems largely unknown to the rest of the world. You have an interesting life and your social bank balance just went up.

Everyone vacations in Goa on a long weekend, but driving there, and exploring coastal cuisines on the way, gets you the real social currency, measured in likes, hearts, shares and the number of conversations you can carry off. In this virtual-vicarious world, the corner office may no longer be the most aspirational goal. In running to reach it, you might run out of social currency.