"I want to have big muscles. I understand that having big muscles will be good social currency for me, and women might find it attractive."

This is what some people who're against veganism say. (Because people think protein's necessary to make muscles, and thus we need to have meat which has proteins.)

I looked it up online, and it says social currency is "the actual and potential resources from presence in social networks and communities, including both digital and offline" and it seems related to money and business?

But I still don't get what it means and why it's used here.

2 Answers 2


"Social currency" here is anything that contributes to your "value" as a member of your social environment.

People who use this expression are referring to your general popularity and social esteem in a metaphorical way as if those characteristics were actually quantifiable in the same way that a person's wealth can be measured (in a monetary value, or amount of "currency").

So "social currency" could mean having big muscles, or being a good dancer, being attractive, having a good sense of humor, having a lot of actual currency, being acquainted with famous people, etc.


"Social currency" is a relatively new specialist term, so it might be easier for you to look it up - it won't appear in many dictionaries yet, but there will be plenty of sites explaining what it is.

Briefly, it's an expansion of the term social capital, which has been around longer. Social capital is, broadly speaking, the relatively static value of relationships, image and so on in a social situation. There's a lot of interpretations, so it's hard to give a single definition. If an organisation has a lot of social capital, it means that it is well thought of in its community - it is recognised as a good thing.

Just like currency is, in a sense, a "flowing" form of capital, social currency is social activity that positively reflects on someone or something. When a product or company is talked about positively, whether it's in person, in the media, or on social media, that is social currency.

If we take this person's word with this understanding, they are essentially saying that having big muscles will make people talk to one another about him in a good way.

However, it's possible that he has another understanding of the term - it's new, so there's a range of understandings. It's also possible that he's misusing it.

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