Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
This is 20,000 words of wrong-headedness. It's ludicrious to claim that nobody has studied capital in social networks; the entire phenomenon of influencers is an illustration of the economics of social capital.
Arguing about the internal value of any social network without arguing about the external value is like discussing the wealth of Zimbabweans without discussing an exchange rate. Klout tried to build an entire business model on judging whether this person or that was worth listening to; that Unilever link up there basically indicates that as soon as anyone of consequence cared, the discussion became dollars, CPM, and the metrics that non-social networks have been using since KDKA went on the air a hundred years ago.
My ability to get your attention inside a network is utterly and completely irrelevant unless you compare my ability to get your attention outside a network. The author admits this without paying more than lip service to it, though:
[An aside about exogenous social capital: you might complain that your tweets are more interesting and grammatical than those of, say, Donald Trump (you're probably right!). Or that your photos are better composed and more interesting at a deep level of photographic craft than those of Kim Kardashian. The difference is, they bring a massive supply of exogenous pre-existing social capital from another status game, the fame game, to every table, and some forms of social capital transfer quite well across platforms. Generalized fame is one of them. More specific forms of fame or talent might not retain their value as easily: you might follow Paul Krugman on Twitter, for example, but not have any interest in his Instagram account. I don't know if he has one, but I probably wouldn't follow it if he did, sorry Paul, it’s nothing personal.]
Everyone else on the planet is interested only in "social capital transfer." That's it. That's the whole game. This is why you can buy Instagram followers by the 10k, Twitter followers by the 100k, Reddit accounts by the $1 but Instagram accounts by the $1k: it's what you can do with it. Paul Krugman's Instagram account is only useful to Paul Krugman. "Humans of Late Capitalism" or "Diet Prada" is worth money to anyone attempting to reach cynics or fashion snarkers. The metrics are dollars and value is governed by utility.