How LinkedIn’s Top Voices Are Moving Their Online Connections To The Physical World

Our digital world and always-online digital lifestyle have allowed friendships with our online connections to blossom. Most people reading this will have an increasing number of professional connections on platforms such as LinkedIn or BeBee that support and inspire them to move forward on their journey.

Most have never met their virtual contacts face-to-face in the physical world, yet feel an incredible camaraderie and warmth toward their online friends and followers. By contrast, the traditional conference is beginning to look a little dated.

The awkward breaks between sessions and learning more in the lobby or bar afterward than anything from the set itinerary illustrate the problem at hand perfectly. This immediately sparked an epiphany that highlights how the current way of connecting and learning from each other is in need of an upgrade.

It now feels like almost everyone controls their personal narrative on social media through the medium of digital storytelling. Sharing these stories is building meaningful relationships and forming partnerships that cannot be achieved in a conference hall after lunch on a Wednesday afternoon.

Sarah Elkins took this to the next level after wondering how to leverage her incredible online professional network to improve her real life, face-to-face business, and community. Her first task was to throw away the rule book and the old way of doing things.

The concept of a new breed of conferences called ‘No Longer Virtual‘ was born. An event that leverages those side-conversations and makes them the foundation of the NLV experience.

A conference with no keynotes, no crowded, awkward “networking” events where you’ve either been painfully introduced around or observing the small cliques of people who already know each other. It was time to create a professional development that had not been seen before.

Setting the agenda was the easy part, but what happened next was incredibly special. The writers Sarah had bonded and supported on the LinkedIn publishing platform over the last two years rushed to support the idea and booked flights from around the world to show their support for the event.

The butterfly effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. When LinkedIn opened up the professional publishing platform to all of its members, I wonder if they had any idea how it would do much more than just help its members be more productive and successful.

Users engaging and sharing their content to a wider audience has ultimately created an online community that is now moving into the physical world to seamlessly merge our offline and online contacts. The sharing of our thoughts and opinions in written articles is creating much more than a professional identity.

Members of the business social network might not be LinkedIn Influencers in the traditional sense. But, the platform has inadvertently created a new wave of mentors sharing their valuable experiences and thought leadership to advance their brands or business.

Most people on LinkedIn using the publishing platform are not professional writers. But, everybody has an area where they can develop their expertise through their unique voice. The NLV conference is bringing these top voices from our digital world and networks to workshops in a real environment.

It feels like Sarah is leading a movement that is tearing down geographical barriers and bringing the global community together. Meeting face-to-face to connect and learn from each other in real-time and in real life is something that just might catch on.

If you have an online friend, connection or follower that could help you or your business, would you attend a No Longer Virtual conference? Will you merge your online presence with your physical world to learn even more from people who support and inspire you?

On my podcast, I interviewed Sarah Elkins about the NLV conference to understand the not so virtual story behind it. We talk about how tech is bringing new ways to leverage our online relationships to improve our in-person lives and communities.