Gary Vaynerchuk got me started on this… just giving credit where credit is due.

Gary’s site at  Cork’d got hacked and I was happy about the experience.  Not that he was hacked mine you, but I really enjoyed the video segment he posted at GaryVaynerchuk.com, where he shared a little about the hack; starting that it got reported on TechCrunch before HE even know it had happened.

His post is titled “I had a wild day, you? Turning negatives into positives!” and in it he shares the roller coaster ride he had in getting the site back and working as expected.  In it he also talked about compensating people with money, Whuffies or whatever to get the site back online quickly.

hard_Soft I do not believe that Gary is poor by any means, likewise I do not think he made a gazillion in selling wine at WineLibrary.com, but in the video he talked about offering on Twitter whatever people wanted to get the site back up quickly.  At the time I heard him say it, I thought I had an idea what he was talking about, but not certain.  I wondered how I might find out about this ‘Whuffie’ to make sure I understood where he was going with his story…  enter the power of Viddler.

Gary uses a the video service from Viddler.com, which allows people to make comments at specific places in the video and only by noticing the comments from the post did I get a link to Tara Hunt / HorsePigCow.com and where she is proposing the use of the term ‘Whuffie’ (her term) to refer to the ‘social capital’ (my term), either of which comes from participating and sharing in the social media space.

Tara has refined the idea well enough that she has come out with a book ‘The Whuffie Factor‘ that is now in pre-order with Amazon(go to her site or use my link to get yours) and I admire her work in applying a word to it to make it memorable.  Turns out her use of the term was first proposed in the novel ‘Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom’ by Cory Doctorow, which portrays a world in which all your needs are met and the medium of exchange to build any kind of wealth, is your reputation, measured by Whuffies.

I suppose a Whuffie is fine by me, but my sense is we’ll not see the phases used in board rooms much – what I think will play is social capital.  Businesses understand the need for capital of all kinds, and the usage I saw coined back in June 2007 in an interview by the Washington Post about Twitter.  Social Capital and Whuffies might be about the same, but popular usage will dictate the day.

Which term do you like better – Whuffie or Social Capital?