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Social capital, a term that was once limited to and only understood within the field of social science, is now a common term among those in communications and technology fields. Referring to the network of people and the connections between them, social capital is a key tool in social media today. Some people spend much of their time online building and creating strategic networks that will benefit them in the future, while others spend time breaking into the these networks not for social purposes, but for employment. Now more than ever, members of Gen Y are looking for jobs online – and hearing time and time again how important one’s network is to this search. Today, we’re exploring five easy ways to build one’s social capital in order to get maximum results. Look In Your Local Community Sometimes, the best place to start building connections is right in your own backyard. Even if you don’t know the people personally, it doesn’t hurt to get your name out there and become familiar with your peers. Some places to start exploring include your local chapter ofSocial Media Club, getting involved with, or even organizing a Tweetup or Twestival event, listing yourself on Twitter directories such as Nearby Tweets or WeFollow , and inputting your city into a Facebook or LinkedIn search. Other sites like Craigslist also provide a great way to find and build a community through forums and organizing events using the site as well. Connect on LinkedIn LinkedIn provides fantastic opportunity to build social capital, because that is really the site’s main goal. In addition to making connections with co-workers and friends, you can also reach out to others within groups you are a part of through the network. There are thousands of LinkedIn groups, ranging from industry-specific, recent graduates, job hunters, alumni associations, and more. A quick search can bring up dozens of results on any of these topics – though it’s up to the user to connect from there. These connections can be helpful and extremely valuable when looking for information about a certain company, industry, or area of the country you may be moving to. The Q&A portion of the site is also a great tool to get your name out there on the site and for finding others in your field as well. Join Twitter Lists Twitter may be a small and simple service, but it provides tremendous value in the way of networking. One of its newest features, Lists, enables you as a user to categorize connections into usefulpersonalized lists . You’re also able to follow lists others have created, and others can follow yours as well. For instance, say a major influential marketing guru has created a list of people he thinks are valuable to his industry and pass along good information. Instead of seeking out each user individually, you can use the expertise of others and follow an entire list instantly. Through lists, you can benefit from their...

To read more about how Gen Y and social capital, go to Sparxoo, a digital marketing, branding and business development blog.