Hacker culture is a gift culture. Gift cultures revolve about common pool resources that are created and maintained by communities. Participants engage socially with one another by pooling gifts into the commons. The greater and more valuable their gifts, the more prestige they amass in the eyes of their community, and the more social capital they earn that they can draw on down the track.
There is room for debate here. Still, the idea of social media as a gift culture — like hacker culture is a gift culture — is intriguing and offers a perspective that helps us to better understand, participate in, and draw value from social media.