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Why Being Connected Doesn’t Mean We Are Connecting

I set my alarm for 6:30 this morning, just like I do most weekday mornings, so I can get a good start on the day. After doing the ‘social scroll’—checking through all of my social and media platforms—I got up to have a shower and make breakfast.

Between breakfast and lunch though, I realized I had checked my phone an astonishing 30 times.

Taken aback by my habits, I started to ask around to see if I was alone. Back in late 2015, reported, 'The average person checks their device 85 times a day, spending a total of five hours browsing the web and using apps. This equates to around a third of the time a person is awake, and is twice as often as many people even realize’.

Here we are, early 2017. We pride ourselves with being in a world that is increasingly connected, and we claim that we know more than we ever did before.

Perhaps we do know more about the people around us, but do we really understand them? We check our texts for 1-5 word responses, social media updates from people we ‘kinda sorta’ know through a friend, and we see pictures and 10 second video stories that show the best moments of their day captured and shared. Does this mean we are connected? Yes, but only at a surface level. Connecting on a deeper, more meaningful level is good too. Balance, right?

It used to be that we would call and catch up. Now we suggest it, but we might text five people before calling one.

With the global population sitting at just under 7.5 billion people, and the Internet giving us the ability to connect in ways we could have only dreamed of just a few years ago, it is no surprise that we can ‘connect’ easier than ever before. Add what we intuitively know to the fact that GSMA Intelligence is reporting that there are over 8-billion mobile connections (cell phones, etc.), there are actually more mobile connections than people.

So there are more mobile devices than there are people, and we check them, on average, 85 times a day and are spending numerous hours doing so, what are we missing that we had just a few short years ago?

In a world that is connecting more and more, are we connecting less and less?

How often are you walking downtown or sitting on the subway and look across to see that people aren’t talking to one another? They are face down in their phone.

And hey, I’m not saying I’m any different. In fact, I’m a tech-dependent Millennial who is likely worse than most.

Knowing that this is true for more than us than we’d like to admit though, I believe it is time for a change. I believe that in an increasingly connected world, we truly can connect more and more without being dependent on technology.

I’m a believer that we can utilize technology and still get the most from the relationships around us.

For so long I believed that more—friends—was better. That the more people I could ‘connect’ with, the better off I’d be.

2017 will be another year of incredible tech advancements just like each year before this one. There inevitably will be another Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, and we will have more places to share who we are with the people we want to network with.

Let's just remember though, connections don’t mean true connection.

A balance of both is always needed.


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Why 2017 Is the Year of the Online Summit: The Easiest, Cheapest Way to Provide Value and Huge Impact

With 2017 in full-swing and the world of work changing faster than it ever has before, it is no surprise that the tools we use to communicate are changing equally quickly.

E-mails are dying as fast as Facebook. Slack is rising like Snapchat, and speed and simplicity are always something we try to improve on.

Think of the last time you wrote a letter. Even an email that was longer than a couple of paragraphs. Although these don’t take too long, every minute counts, right?

Now think about the last time you went to a conference so you could hear that one speaker you’ve been reading about and following for years. How long did it take to get to the conference? How much planning went into it? How many hours were spent so you could hear that 45-minutes of gold material? How much money did you spend?

Don’t think for a second I’m advocating against this. There certainly is value in bringing people together, having in-person meetings, and connecting the ‘old fashioned way’. Conferences will never die, and in my opinion, nothing beats a great face-to-face conversation.

With that said, though, conferences cost a lot to host, take a ton of resources, and take weeks, if not months to plan. A lot of us simply don’t have the ability to host one.

But what if we want to make a big impact, showcase incredible talent, get to send a message to our network and connect with like-minded people that want to learn about, and share, a similar idea?

Well, the answer is an online summit.

My case study for understanding the online summit came from Jules Schroeder and her upcoming Unconventional Life Summit on January 15-17th. Jules hosts Unconventional Life on Forbes and has brought together 25+ all-star Millennials in less than a month to teach how to level-up every area of your life and accelerate your business. By focusing on her message and bringing together people that share a vision and can mutually benefit from her objective, she was able to have her summit span the continent—and world for that matter—virtually, in no time at all.

Before you consider hosting your own online summit, getting clear about what value your summit will provide is vital. For Jules, she knew she wanted to bring in expert entrepreneurs and thought-leaders to share what she calls 'living a life on fire', one that lights up the people around her.

Whether planning a conference or summit, the key is to reach out to an audience that sees value in the content. After talking to Jules, I learned that she got a couple of ‘big fish’ on board right away that she knew would draw a crowd, and leveraged the network of others to spread the word. She got people like John Lee Dumas, host of Entrepreneur on Fire, which reaches over 1.2 million/month, people like Brian D. Evans of Influencive,which reaches 1 million readers/month, and people like Jared Kleinert of 3 billion under 30 who had the #1 entrepreneurship book last year. I even got invited!

For the Unconventional Life Summit, there is a lofty goal of having literally tens of thousands of people tune-in. Amazingly enough, though, her overhead is almost nothing. She isn’t bringing food, doesn’t have a venue to worry about, isn’t paying speakers, and has all of the marketing taken care of from the people that she is hosting. She is also able to leverage her speakers’ audiences to create more reach than she could do alone.

What might be even more amazing though, is that she did all of the planning and organizing in a month.

One month.

Conferences. Love them or hate them, they are expensive and take a ton of time and resources. Yes, they are valuable in that there is human connection and interaction, but they are a beast to produce and pull off. If impact and the spreading of a message is the goal, consider hosting a Summit to develop your network, be positioned better as a thought-leader, and provide tremendous value to your clients and network. Remember, too, quality isn’t at all compromised. Take it from Jules Schroeder and the incredible Summit she is hosting January 15-17. If you want to follow all of the behind the scenes action, make sure to register.

Did I mention it was free?


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