Month of Learning

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The Courage Of The Collective

A group can learn better together. Your life can’t always exist behind a screen. People feel better when they come together.

I have seen it for myself and now I want to share it. 

Experiences are about sharing a moment in time with others and not accepting a life in isolation behind a profile.

This article recognises that when there are glimpses of real connection, you can create a framework to build.

When you belong to something, it makes it easier to be accepted for who you are, not who you pretend to be on social platforms.

So, What Was It Like?

The recent You Are The Media Conference (May 25th) is the basis for this article and also time to reflect on why it felt different this year.

If you want to read a review and what the talks were about and the main learning takeaways from this year, read this article from John Espirian, who breaks this down for you in detail. It is an in depth article that looks at the key themes from each talk.

What You Are The Media Is All About 

If you are not aware, the You Are The Media Conference is more of an occasion, than a day of being in a room of strangers. 

It is a day to celebrate being part of a community. 

The core message of You Are The Media is very much on people and businesses building their own audience via the spaces that are theirs. You start to stand in your own space when you deliver a continuous message that sits away others who self congratulate. When your message aligns with your business objective (around the value you create for others), this is how people stay and spend money with you. 

It has always been an objective to prove this to you. When this is backed up by fantastic speakers from around the world who can demonstrate what they have done and also how the world works today, it gels together.

This is all about demonstrating the proof, that small businesses can stand shoulder to shoulder with their more established peers and not rely on borrowing from someone else, all the time, to be seen.

You Are The Media is about independence, creation, self sufficiency, nurture, ownership and persistence.

The Things That Struck Home

Back to this year’s main event. Apart from the You Are The Media message and the quality of talks, there were things that stood out for me this year:

– There was a genuine sense of warmth from everyone (I could feel it on stage)

– You Are The Media has created an emotional attachment with people

– You can have fun and still learn

– There was intimacy and interaction from everyone, even those who travelled and this was their first conference, no one felt isolated

– There is such a thing as belonging

– People are not alone when they come together with others

Part Of Something Different

Whilst I acknowledge there is a heavy marketing angle to You Are The Media whereby you i) figure out what you stand for ii) you find your audience iii) you deliver to your audience again and again, there is now something I am seeing that represents being a part of something.

As small businesses, many of us spend time in isolation, apart from the ‘I’m here’ bursts on social media, telling the world how good the month has been and presenting our best selves to the world.

This year’s conference made me realise the importance of bringing people together and until now, this has been something that I have perhaps missed. 

Until recently I have been focused on the content, more than the communion. 

I now 100% recognise that unity is as important as the material delivered.

Companionship can outweigh the content, when the content is trusted and becomes the bridge to connect and get closer.

The World We Are Part Of

On a societal level, we are living in a world detached from association and fellowship. 

The ‘Campaign To End Loneliness’ is an initiative to tackle loneliness in old age. However, this still applies to many people. According to Holt-Lundstad (from research in 2015), loneliness and social isolation is harmful to our health. Lacking social connections is as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

From looking at the photos (thanks Zelda De Hollander) from this year’s conference, it allowed me time to look and reflect, rather than being caught in the moment. These small moments of connection, I hope, made a difference to someone’s day. 

Around 70% of the attendees stayed around at the end to have a drink. Thanks to Jon Nichols Video Production, Michael Grubb Studio, Moda Consult and Steele Raymond for making this happen.

People shared with each other what they took from the day, or just had a drink and enjoyed someone else’s company. It proved that we all shared something together. Sticking around and talking without whipping out business cards perhaps made someone feel a closer part of the You Are The Media community.

The Harsh Reality Today

According to a recent Red Cross survey from 2018 amongst 4,000 UK adults, over a half felt emotionally unconnected to others. 

The Campaign to End Loneliness teamed up with YouGov for their own research. Over half of UK adults (from a poll of 2,000 people) said that it’s been a long time since they made a new friend, citing their busy lives.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlighted in 2016 to 2017 there were 5% of adults in England stated they felt lonely ‘often’ or ‘always.’ It is all around us, people are not feeling connected to the wider community.

Whilst we live in a world of abundance and volume, the numbers may be interacting they may not be reacting.

The Size Of Audience

Social media ‘influencer,’ Arii (Arianna Rene) thought that her huge follower count of 2.6m would buy her new clothing line, she sold 36 t-shirts and then decided to bin the venture. Social media is great at harvesting connection, but you need meaning, value and this thing around being relatable to take to the next level and getting others to sit with you.

People say we are more connected than ever before due to the web. People say we are less connected than ever before due to the web. Both are correct.

People talk about the sizeable audience that they have built online and the amount of followers they have. In the true light of day, these are predominately strangers. People rarely interact with strangers over the web.

The Strength In Doing Something Together

This is where I am seeing the strength and potential development of You Are The Media. 

As many businesses ramp up their efforts in an online space to build income and tell the world that they know best to change peoples lives, moving forward You Are The Media will continue to have its prominence in an off-line capacity. Whilst this reduces reach, it puts emphasis on place. This has worked very well this summer.

We had the Mark Schaefer, You Are The Media Conference Warm Up during May. To have someone of the calibre of Mark, head to the seaside and deliver such an impactful talk for his latest book, Marketing Rebellion was a great thing to be a part of. There was a moment where I sat at the back of the room listening to what was being said as well as hearing the sea out side, is something that cannot be replicated online.

We had the Mark Schaefer, You Are The Media Conference Warm Up during May. To have someone of the calibre of Mark, head to the seaside and deliver such an impactful talk for his latest book, Marketing Rebellion was a great thing to be a part of. There was a moment where I sat at the back of the room listening to what was being said as well as hearing the sea out side, is something that cannot be replicated online.

The Moves Going Forward

You Are The Media is bringing talented people to the seaside. It is moving beyond the borders of the county and there are people who are delivering great work within this network. These are people who are noted within their areas of market specialism. I recognise that the longer you stick with something (You Are The Media is coming up to its sixth birthday), you start to see others who are creating, building and doing great work. By having a flag in the sand, makes it easier to bring people together and to stand as one. 

This is something that will be explored over the coming months with the intention to introduce You Are The Media Workshops, delivered by the best people within the UK, but in a real time environment in Bournemouth. This will concentrate on subject areas that are relevant to you building your audience and income for your business. People do learn better together and when it is part of a network that people feel connected to, no-one should sit in a room and feel lonely. I will explore this in more detail with a focus group at the end of June and will feedback with you where this is heading. 

Maybe I am completely wrong, but we have become preoccupied with the screen in front of us, why not bring others in to look up and feel good to be a part of something and the people they spend it with.

Let’s Round Up

As tough as things are for everyone at the moment, showing up for these shared moments is something that cannot be recreated online. We cannot neglect each other as we clamber to be heard. When you become comfortable together, you start helping each other out. Doesn’t it sound better when you get others sharing your work and prepared to the marketing for you? It is happening.

We can all catch glimpses of fun, intimacy and togetherness as one giant party, not standing in isolation on a social platform telling everyone how many new client wins you have. 

We need occasions for people to come together and lean in. This is where real relationships are. Face to face interaction is what will help us be ourselves and to belong, in a real space, in real time.

Bringing people together is about stepping forward and making a commitment. You don’t have to walk on your own in the hope to be accepted. It is better when you do it with others.

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