Good post, I think even those of us that are pretty deliberate about building dynamic networks of relationships do not always grasp the role that those people play in our lives. A lot of interesting studies in the past decade have shown the way that ideas and information move through these networks and have even shown correlates regarding things like happiness, physical fitness, and divorce between ourselves and the people that we are connected to.
It reminds me of something that Marshall McLuhan said:
“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”
We might do well to remember that the network we put in place around us is going to shape us in many ways.
I think that our networks easily become dominated by like minded folks especially from our geographic community and / or our profession. If we take a look at our two LinkedIn networks I would guess that would be the case for both of us.
It is really important to consistently introduce novelty into your network. As you said; “The social capital available in your network increases in value as the diversity of your network increases because it then gives us more diverse sources of information and perspective to access.”
So, I think that part of the message here is to make sure and be a pioneer somewhere. Go be the oddball somewhere. Leave the confines of your professional network where you know the players and the lingo and find an opportunity to start making connections in different professions or different industries. Maybe start attending a conference or subscribing to a journal that does not have anything to do with your work.
Your network if going to feed you “the normal stuff”…be deliberate about bringing some abnormal stuff in as well.