'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecademy

I read a brilliant article yesterday by Sherry Turkle - a psychologist and professor at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other."

The article starts with this sentence:

WE live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.


Coincidently, I read this on the way to the Ecademy Event in London last night where we shared conversation and you could see the level of support in the room from business people who had known one another for many, many years and whom connected 'unconditionally' and found great happiness and peace of mind in doing so, myself included.

Daniel provided a great set of slides and thoughts on how he would like to lead Ecademy, focused on the fact that we all seek conversation not just connection.

Ecademy's vision 14 years ago was to 'connect business people' that statement alone seemed enough, without FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter in the market, business people did know how to have real conversations, our aim was to get them to 'connect more widely, more randomly', that was the challenge. We know that the best 'connections' are when people make more effort to have conversation and it really worked for the first 7 years on Ecademy. The change happened in the behaviour of people when the large networks entered the market 'BIG is BEAUTIFUL! Since then I have watched the seduction of HYPER networking bordering on Broadcast, and, as many of you know from my talks and Blogs this concerns me greatly.

We have at our finger tips the technology to enable us to build a form of capital in our lives, that can sustain, support, love and respect us, for the whole of our lives, and that is SOCIAL CAPiTAL. The ability to build 'social connections' around us that believe in us, not just our business brand and our products.

Yet - not many people are really doing this, and this is where I see the opportunity once more for Ecademy. Thomas and I and the team here have been through some serious stress maintaining the values and the platform of Ecademy, many, many hundreds of networks across the world that attempted what we have are now in the Internet Graveyard. The last 4 years for Thomas and I have been an unbelievable challenge, a great learning and through it all, we truly have learned the value of the social capital we have in our lives. This creates in me an evangelistic passion for the opportunity we all have, if we stopped, slowed down and just noticed the realness of people and the conversations we could be having inside Ecademy.

I was thrilled last night to hear so many members wanting to bring back the Ecademy local meetings, they were amazing, the combination of online and offline is perfect. As Daniel said, our Event Pages were pioneering, once again, people left to go and run their own events, isolated on their own islands, using Eventbrite to promote.

My wish, my dream and my lifelong passion will be to create depth of relationships around business people, and the combination of Daniel's new energy combined with the article I referred to at the start of this Blog gives me the confidence that this is possible once again, it never went away, the people believing in this 'movement' just reduced a bit, but perhaps that is all about to change, perhaps Ecademy does remain the best place for business owners to care and support one another and in doing so watch their business grow.

Looking back at this BLOG 'Connecting Hearts for real Network Value' from 7 years ago, wow, what a journey we have all been on and continue to believe in. Thank you to all those Ecademy members that never left, and thank you to all those that are returning, you are hugely valued here


To finish, here is another quote from the article by Sherry Turkle

WE expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship.



warm regards and love
Penny Power
Founder of Ecademy and Digital Youth Academy
Helping you build social capital in your business and life


Follow @pennypower

I support:
Digital Business Britain Manifesto
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Stuart Chalmers

stuartchalmers-309448

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

The "article" is good and it's hard to deny that the ring of truth rings loudly. Personally I quite like a lot of time on my own so online communication suits me or ... am I that way because of it? I don't know! It may be that the advance of being "together alone" is inevitable, should we resist or embrace? Will real social interaction die off some with the passing of generations? Perhaps not, people still go to the pub, restaurants, festivals, events, pursuits etc. I think the ROSEE events are a good idea and will try and support Philip by attendance on the 15th May at least if I can. eCademy is probably best as both online and offline.

1 comments

John Paul

johnpaul-94865

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

I have a lot of faith in Ecademy, as I did when I first joined 7 years ago - I don't know of other networks that attract such frankness and communication as here, whilst still managing geographical breadth. FB is a stream and Linked In is a professional outpost, then there are the many others.

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Marius Wlassak

mariuswlassak-222845

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Great thought Penny! Thanks for sharing :) Marius

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Phillip Khan-Panni

PKP

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

>I was thrilled last night to hear so many members wanting to bring back the Ecademy local meetings It has always been available to anyone to set up or re-start local meetings. It's not hard. All it takes is a bit of effort and a small financial commitment. Yet no one did it before. I have done it in London and am about to do it in Bristol. I am keen to establish the ROSEE brand and work hand in glove with Ecademists in other parts of the country to replicate ROSEE where they are. Do you agree that a single identity works best, because people can always visit a local ROSEE if they happen to be in another part of the country, or even in another country. Isn't that an extension of the concept of "a friend in every city"?

0 comments

Clodagh Phelan

clodaghphelan-682103

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Thank you Penny. Such a lot to think about, especially for a new Ecademician.

0 comments

Penny Power

penny-power-1001

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Amazing to see the engament and conversation here and thank you for proving the point! I think the issue we have on Ecademy is one of breadth, not depth. The depth of relationships is never really questioned, it seems that people are seduced by the BIG feeling of living in a City online, whereas I love the feeling of living in a village. I do wonder how we can address the need for more volume on Ecademy, communities cannot be forced, only those that 'get community' add value, so just having volume is pointless Do you think we could actually 'force' a greater number of people using ecademy, could we market better? Penny x

0 comments

Steve Waters

stevewaters-619905

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

A great article and a heartfelt blog, Penny. As with all human relationships, social media relationships will be shallow if time is not spent actively listening to others and being willing to give without expecting to get something out of it. The fact that technology enables us to connect so quickly and easily gives us almost unlimited potential to reach out to others and build relationships, or conversely to make as many contacts as possible without spending time online to strengthen the connections we make. The choice is ours - and the technology should not be held to be responsible for decision we make.

0 comments

Lucas Wyrsch

lucas_wyrsch

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Dear Penny, Thank you so much for your great article and for sharing! William Edwards Deming was convinced that collaboration offered success while competition condemned us to failure! Cooperation instead of CompetitionAlready in his earliest childhood, man is prepared for a life in competition in accordance with the Darwinian principle of the survival of the fittest. Consequently, man enters a inhuman production system where many get broke. Deming, instead, promotes cooperation with a common goal. Everybody wins through CooperationIt is generally accepted that for one to win, all others have to loose. If someone wants a bigger piece of the pie, all the others must become smaller. But this does not need to be true. Cooperate to make the pie bigger and everybody will win. What we can learn from the Chinese Dream is that social capitalism works and that collaboration is the key to success! Just my two cents of input to your great and admiring blog post! Have a wonderful and happy day! Best, Lucas

0 comments

Freddy Daems

freddydaems-89801

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Good evening , Penny You know I am not the one that follows anyone blindly . I do have to admit that meeting you way back in 2005 somehow changed my way of thinking. It was a turning point in my life. So I thank you for giving me a moment of your time. I still remember. Warm regards and have a great night. Freddy

0 comments

Julia McDaid

juliamcdaid-47153

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

I do think that connecting is what Ecademy is about, it might be an "online" network, but offline has always been encouraged, and yes Penny, there has been plenty of noise on here the last few months, members definitely want local events! :-) Online socail networks may be where we "meet" these days, and they help us manintain relationships, I still think the real building and understanding happens in the face to face time

0 comments

Dave Clarke

daveclarke

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Thanks for sharing, Penny The Internet in general and Social Media in particular have given us excellent tools to maintain and strengthen our real life social networks. They are not a substitute and the real action is offline. When I joined Ecademy in 2004 I used the tools to support and build my offline relationships. The meetings meant that I met some great people, many becoming friends. I love this Tim Berners-Lee quote from 2004, "The web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect—to help people work together—and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world. We clump into families, associations, and companies. We develop trust across the miles and distrust around the corner." Dave

1 comments

Peter Travers

petertravers-142860

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Face to face and eyeball to eyeball is the only way that people truly connect ! Kind regards, Peter T

0 comments

Martin Dewhurst

martin-dewhurst-30038

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Fab to see the Ecademy ROSEE crew last night. Thanks for all contributions to a truly memorable London trip. Martin

0 comments

Gordon Wheaton

gordonwheaton-294525

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Good and interesting blog Penny. I can well imagine Ecademy has been quite a journey since it started in 1998. Sadly I have not been here all that time. Can't remember when I joined. But even I, can see what a journey it has been, in the small amount of time I have been here Regards Gordon

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Fiona Hayes

fionahayes1-435654

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Hi Penny, Beautifully observed. The words that your blog sparked off in my brain are "community" and "business community". So many so called business communities are only about individuals using each other and have absolutely nothing at all to do with community and yet community is what we all long for and has the potential to make the world a better place. Fiona

1 comments

Terri Rau

terrirau-380940

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

The best part of the job that I do is sitting around the table once a month working with individuals from 20 different ethnic backgrounds as we work to showcase culture in our city every year. My second favorite part of the job is seeing 5,000 volunteers that it takes to make this a success. I'm very proud of these folks and the city where 30,000 "neighbors" come out to enjoy the festival. Interestingly enough, the theme of the festival this year is: One World....Connected! Having said that, the person in my life right now "connected" with me online and over the first few months, I noticed my communication skills improve. We "related" more by having to communicate than a lot of couples do in person. I found the points in the Article interesting connection vs. conversation / companionship vs. relationship and Alone Together. I hope we always find a way to return to simplicity for these parts of our lives. Great discussion. Cheers, Terri

0 comments

Marius Amado-Alves

mariusamadoalves-434628

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

(please ignore; just posting to try "watch this blog" checked off to work)

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Eric Sutherland

ericsutherland1-131530

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Summing up my current status: alone together seems to be how I work these days, 90% online with chat on Skype or site messaging with attachments. Only 10% face-to-face onsite. Grown to like this way of working and most of the time it works well. But, miscommunication still pops up and maybe then face-to-face would resolve it. Some people don't know when they are not communicating or assume all is clear and can't understand why your not singing the same tune. Maybe this is something technology will come to sense or to use Star Trek speak go where no man as gone before and develop extra sensing.

0 comments

Henry Lu

henrylu-58196

Deep relationship I found in Ecademy.

Penny, Couldn't agree more with your passion on creating depth of relationships. Thomas Friedman indicated in his latest book, "That Used To Be Us", that normal, average is no longer good enough in today's hyper connected world. People looking for to partner with elite among elites, best among bests in order to stand out in worldwide competition. To me, I found that in Ecademy. I found my networking mentor, Thomas Power. My younger daughter, Emily, she is a super networker. She learned networking in her young age that opens up all kinds career opportunities. Even in life, her networking lead her to connecting to tennis celebs here in USA. My family all Harry Potter fan. To put the kind of deep relationship very important to everyone of us, it's just like Harry, Ron and Hermione. And your life ascent to a much higher level because of these kinds of deep relationship, isn't it. Best regards, -Henry Lu

0 comments

Russell Davison

russell-davison-444943

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Nice thoughts Penny, Ecademy is very different to other social networks. The management have a "face". That's what makes the difference, to me. We need to move Ecademy to the next phase of human networking, where the quality of contacts, not the number, count. It's time to throw away all this clout stuff and stop making the hunting of potential colleagues or new clients as being akin to train number spotting or stamp collecting. In fact, too many random "contacts" within a social media database actually indicates a shallowness of character, and not popularity (unless you are a famous pop star, actor, or sports personality.) It's a truism that the majority of people can't maintain real contact with more than 43 people. You won't get 12,000 Xmas cards or 9,000 people at your funeral, will you! For Ecademy to successfully continue on it's journey, you need to take a good look at the membership profile: they all sell something - property, dreams, e-books, hand dryers, etc. Somehow, you need to get people who buy things to join Ecademy. How can this be done?

0 comments

Jeff Mowatt

jeffmowatt-232748

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

@George "Daniel's talk was excellent the Industrial Revolution is so correct." I was reminded by your comment of this statement from a 1996 paper about a new economic paradigm: "We are at the very beginning of a new type of society and civilization, the Information Age. Historically, this is only the third distinct age of civilization. We lived in an agricultural age for thousands of years, which gave way to the Industrial Revolution and Industrial Age during the last three hundred years. The Industrial Age is now giving way to the Information Revolution, which is giving rise to the Information Age. Understanding this, it is appropriate to be concerned with the impact this transition is having and will continue to have on the lives of all of us. In that it is a fundamental predicate of "people-centered" economic development that no person is disposable, it follows that close attention be paid to those in the waning Industrial Age who are not equipped and prepared to take active and productive roles in an Information Age. Many, in fact, are scared, angry, and deeply resentful that they are being left out, ignored, effectively disenfranchised, discarded, thrown away as human flotsam in the name of human and social progress. We have only to ask ourselves individually whether or not this is the sort of progress we want, where we accept consciously and intentionally that human progress allows for disposing of other human beings." I've just been participating in Daniel's thread about getting rid of people to allow them to be more wealthy.

1 comments

Stephen Bailey

stephenbailey-133543

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

So, the interesting thing about having the view "from the back of the room", was watching the range of emotions that Penny and Thomas experienced in the 90 minutes or so from PKP opening, through Daniel presenting and into the Q&A before closing. There are so many analogies to be drawn with the role of being parents - which therefore makes Ecademy the child and at Fourteen years old, a teenager, wrestling with it's future. Here's my guess, Penny sees Ecademy like a Son, of which she is fiercely proud and encouraging of the adventure and new experiences. Thomas on the other hand sees Ecademy more as a Daughter, of which he is naturally "protective". The crux of it though is the dichotomy that goes with how much nurturing and protecting versus letting go and leaving them to it. The beauty of it though, is that they are both such wise, caring and responsible parents that whatever Ecademy wants to be when it grows up, they will always be there for it when it needs a good meal on a Sunday, a bag of washing sorted out over the weekend and the odd couple of quid here and there for petrola nd a night out with it's mates. I see a whole new world of adventure for the pair of them "Leading from the back of the room" and will continue to enjoy my interactions with them both as their new world evolves. Thanks Stephen

0 comments

Marius Amado-Alves

mariusamadoalves-434628

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Nice story, thanks. I must confess that the fact that your email was the round number 13000 on my gmailbox was a factor in me coming here. Anyway the fact that i do come here occasionally and not to facebook is perhaps telling that there is indeed a different kind of connection than the "likes" of the latter, pun intended.

0 comments

George Wallace

georgewallace1-619875

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Hi Penny Excellent blog. It feels strange I have only been in Ecademy for a short period of time but thoroughly enjoying the experience. Like most things wish I had joined a long time ago. Hind sight is a wonderful thing. Daniel's talk was excellent the Industrial Revolution is so correct. Having owned a BBC computer did my degree project using the analogue port to control relays. This was considered great at the time. But now technology has moved on. A lot of people just get connected on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook just to show how many links they have. Have regularly connected with people that I want to work with sent an email and had no reply. Ecademy has helped my businesses. Its so good to be able to ask a question and receive a reply that is of great assistance. Also its good to be able to help other Ecademy members. The only area I have struggled has been in finding my way around Ecademy its getting better now and am going back on the introductory course that should make more sense the second time. George

0 comments

Stella Holman "The Connector"

stellaholman_theconnector

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Penny, I enjoyed the meeting last night and was encouraged by what was said. I am going to support the International Ecademy day in The Netherlands in June. I also support a local Farmer's Market and I am encouraging the people that attend this to join Ecademy - so hope to get Eastbourne back on the map. Best wishes Stella

0 comments

Harry Cruickshank

harrycruickshan-4167

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Hi Penny - an interesting blog and one that goes to the heart of inter-connectedness and what relationships in the 21st century are like. Becoming connected initially is easy, but strong, lasting relationships need nurturing and that's best done face-to-face (although for long distances, Skype and other tools may be the only practical way to do so). I support strongly the value of the local Ecademy groups, which I attended religiously in the early years, and their ability to generate a sense of community and connection amongst people in the same area. People could then follow up online or offline as required. Having said that, over time it's possible to build a link with someone you've never met - it just takes more focus and commitment. I've even had people I've not had the opportunity to meet introduce me to some of their own network, whom I'm able to meet in person, and that 'warm' connection helps to kick-start the relationship with them. Given limited time (which we all suffer from) my own tactic has been to slowly build a strong network amongst a smaller group of individuals, rather than try to spread myslef over a wide area with a high number of very tenuous connections - years ago, Thomas and I enjoyed these volume-versus-value arguments. In reality we assemble "layers of connections", where the strength (and often the quality) of the link diminishes as it moves further from the centre. There are also connected groups (think Google+) where particular areas of interest form the glue for those participants. Your core principles of "know me - like me - follow me" still hold good. For me the key point is the willingness of individuals to work on others' behalf. As an example, I maintain a very rough kind of "radar" model, where I keep track of people I know who need something (specific connections, work, etc) and try to link them to people and resources that will offer them value. There's also a subset of connections, people whom I particularly value, where I make an extra effort to help them move their lives/business forward. It's time-consuming to manage but continually rewarding. Ecademy is for me a place for connection and reflection - it links me to people who interest (and sometimes delight or surprise me) and the quality of the blog content often makes me stop to think. For this, we have you and Thomas (and the team) to thank and I wish you all future success. Warmest wishes, Harry

0 comments

David Shirley

davidshirley-358711

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Penny, I was at the meeting last night and was much encouraged by what Daniel had to say - in my relatively short time with Ecademy I have found (and in some cases given) support and guidance. It's a shame Andreas was not in the room as I think he too may have been heartened by the content and participation - I believe (from what I heard) that the support being offered, to those who wish to run meetings in the UK, will also be extended to our European community. cheers, Dave

0 comments

Andreas Wiedow

andreas_wiedow

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Let me know when ecademy is prepared to support local offline gatherings in Frankfurt/Germany.

2 comments

Clive Miller

clive-miller-31991

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Thanks for sharing Penny. I agree, something is missing although I do gain a sense of comradery from a forum conversation with like minded individuals. For me, after two or three posts responding and reading comments in response to mine, I begin to feel I know someone. This seems to be an online phenomenon that has been possible since the early days of Compuserve and the like. It has taken a generation for my unconscious mind to embrace this type of communication. I don't have the bandwidth or inclination to cope with several interfaces and as a consequence have favoured LinkedIn. Credit to you and Thomas for your effort and investment in sustaining eCademy in the face of organisations who seem to have greater resources. Some years ago, together with another local consultant, I was involved in leading a face to face local networking club. While it proved to be hard work that was often not rewarded with strong attendance, I did find our sessions worthwhile. After about two years, I and my co leader tried to have others takeover reins, sadly unsuccessfully, so our particular group stopped meeting. On reflection, I did get value from the experience and might be persuaded to repeat it, if there were sufficient enthusiasm from others in my locality. I'd also be interested in attending a group with similar values. Early on, the group I led concluded that referrals were not the aim. Instead, our charter was fraternity and learning. Best Clive

0 comments

Akhtar (make it happen) Khan

akhtarkhan-164100

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

Hi Penny, Excellent thought-provoking and motivating blog. I believe Ecademy has a lot to offer, and members have to take on the responsibility of sharing in their businesses. For example, if a member needs funding, all members who have funds to invest, or know people who do, should pitch in after reviewing the risks and returns involved. Inaction does not help create relationships. During my 5+ years, I have created good networking friendships, but no real relationships in terms of deals completed. Funding has been the main reason. All the best Akhtar

0 comments

Mike Jones

MikeJones

'alone together' - do we all really connect? Yes we do on Ecadem

My first experience of Ecademy was via the local events; initially in Henley, then Farnham and later London. I fully support the idea of local events being a strength. I believe that's where the real connections are made.

0 comments