Social Network Capital is the first of these characteristics. The social network capital refers to the accumulation of people with similar interests. The people who are networked in LinkedIn are considered as the social capital. For a virtual community, the social capital is very important. Existing social relations are usually supported by the virtual community. However, the virtual community is so designed that newer forms of interaction capabilities are also set up. According to Ellison and Steinfield (2006), it facilitates the formation of new ones.
In this context of definition of a virtual community, it could be said that a virtual community is even different from a normal social setting. In a normal social setting, there is not much pressure on individuals to socialize, but in the virtual community, it would be possible because of the blended organization.In the context of the social network capital analysis it could be said that LinkedIn does encourage newer conversation in addition to supporting old ones (Kollock & Smith, 1999).
It brings people of mutual interest together, either in terms of a larger professional goal or in terms of a smaller company or working space (Krol, 1992). People in different locations of the same organization would be able to get informally introduced to one another in a space setting, which also ensures the members are mindful of the position they hold in the organization and their mutual responsibilities. Users can initiate interactions that could end in potential face to face meetings. People would be able to make powerful connections in a virtual community like LinkedIn. The VC does indeed result in social network capital creation. Therefore, LinkedIn conforms to the first characteristic presented by Rheingold (2000).
Social network capital creation is, a definitive success factor supporting VCs LinkedIn. How the virtual community makes use of these criterions will make or break its success and sustenance and hence careful emphasis is laid on its innovative use. LinkedIn or other social networking sites such as Facebook and Friendster were not the only sites that were created for purpose of social networking. The success of LinkedIn also arises from how the social capital is used innovatively. For instance, consider how people are able to discreetly mail one another on LinkedIn which enables them to have better conversations. Sometimes they can also invite a person to an open forum outside the website. Some of these options were not available when LinkedIn was first created. Additional innovative ways to connect and make use of the social capital were added later. It was these additions based on the consumer segment response that differentiated Virtual communities like LinkedIn from other social networks that were not able to keep up. Orkut is an example of a virtual community. It is like LinkedIn, but was more of an open social community like Facebook (Cheung, et al .2011). When it was launched it was highly popular in Asian countries.