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Considering “What it Means to be Connected”

October 14, 2011

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am a big fan of the HBR.com blog site. Numerous fine authors contribute content, and one of my favorites is Lucy Marcus (@lucymarcus on Twitter).  Her recent post on the site is “What it means to be ‘Connected.'”  The post begins

I was recently selected as one of Britain’s “best connected” women by Director, a business magazine. This prompted me to reflect on what it actually means to be “connected.” I began to explore the meaning of connectedness, both in person, and in an ever more virtual world, and to consider whether the two forms are so different.” [as always, italics are added by me to denote quotes from the article]

First of all, you have to be impressed by anyone who can be named “one of Britain’s best connected women.” Frankly, it sounds fairly exhausting to me. But I think Marcus wears it well.

But if you think Marcus emphasizes counting up LinkedIn connections, you would be mistaken. I admire her for emphasizing the quality of communications, rather than the volume of them, when she says ” it is not about the number of people you know or the mountain of business cards you collect, but rather about the depth and authenticity of the relationships you build and sustain, the depth and maturity of the connection you have with one another, and about valuing and nurturing the free flow of ideas.” More than just relationship building, Marcus understands that new technology-enabled networks can fuel a whole different nature of exchange:

One of the most exciting developments that technological advances have facilitated is the breaking down of the hierarchy of ideas, allowing great ideas to bubble to the surface from virtually anywhere. This means that it matters little whether an idea originates from a young woman entrepreneur in Japan or an elder statesman in Africa.

This post is insightful, powerful and authentic. As hard as it is to believe, at first, that truly meaningful conversations emerge in 160 character bursts, Marcus understands that new media style isn’t driven by long form journalism so much as it is millions of people reaching out and touching one another, bit by bit, until layer after revealed layer forge relationships. The wonder of it is that those relationship cut across not only geography, but also other strata of populations. I think that’s the power of the new media style, that it’s fueled by such a depth and diversity of ideas. Marcus wraps up her excellent post by observing “When done well, with authenticity, depth and continuity, being connected, both online and offline, facilitates constant learning, synthesizing, evolving, and sharing that is, for me, the most exciting and rewarding part of being “connected.“”

For me, Marcus observations are an important perspective on relationship building in today’s social landscape. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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2 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on todaysnote and commented:

    In honor of Twitter’s 10th anniversary, I am reposting this piece from 2011, which explores “connectedness” and media like twitter. The original article is by Lucy Marcus, who is worth following and reading, now or then. The original link is still good, so enjoy!

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  1. Considering “What it Means to be Connected” | My Blog

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