The Growing Need for Connection in the Digital Age

Is technology leading us to the end of humanity, as we knew it?

Birungi Ives
Mar 27, 2017 · 6 min read

When is the last time you had a truly connected face to face interaction with your child, partner, friend or colleague, where there was not a single glance at a cell phone, television or computer?

It is interesting. With the internet today, it seems we have never been more connected. We can communicate with each other at any time of day from almost anywhere in the world with a text, email or emoji. Then, why do I get the sense that we have never been more disconnected, than we are now?

Facilitating curated strategic partnerships to support the growth and profitability of my clients is what I do. Simply, I am in the business of connection. Connection is the nature of humanity. It is how we thrive, procreate, and love. Connection is the foundation of our very existence and prosperity! At the root of true connection is honest, integral, and clear communication.

With the digital age, people are losing the skill of this level of communication. As a result, people are losing the ability to productively connect. More and more executives from organizations around the world have come to me and asked if I can teach their staff and board members how to facilitate impactful partnerships. With every email, post, tweet, and text, people are losing their ability to effectively connect face to face. The skill of communication is getting lost amongst all the ones and zeros. This is leaving many people in need for true connection, but lost on how to go about it within this new context. People are losing their village and being left to wander alone in the vast digital expanse.

It is funny! My single friend told me a story of a guy that would not bother to take her out on a date. Why? When he looked at the dating app and saw that she was over 5 miles away, he couldn’t be bothered to drive the distance. The convenience of technology fosters disconnection. Actually, maybe this story is not that funny after all! What happened to the days when you met someone and you talked for hours on the phone or during a date? With that level of communication and the resulting connection, you would travel halfway around the world to see each other without hesitation. Now, people won’t drive 5 miles? You can just swipe left instead. Sad, isn’t it? No wonder relationships are falling apart left, right and center. A text can’t solve a problem in a relationship, but it can surely end one!

Imagine how this lack of communication and connection translates to the workplace. I was recently told about a full on communication break down and how it led to a huge work mishap that left everyone involved exhausted, frustrated, angry and emotionally hurt. I would imagine all of this would have been sidestepped and avoided if the two main individuals involved sat down face to face and effectively communicated their expectations, as opposed to exchanging a series of short broken emails.

This is why my skill of communication and connection is being requested by so many. People that excel at communication and connection are needed more and more, as the majority of the population lose their ability to effectively communicate and connect for themselves. That is the reason why I am so committed to teaching the art of connection with self-confidence as a potential bi-product. As humans, we can not afford to lose this skill. Due to circumstance and lack of access to opportunity, there are many people that were not fostered to develop this skill in the first place. I feel a stronger call to teach these skills to marginalized members of our community that are more frequently left out of the conversation altogether, i.e. people of color, women, LGBTQ, stay at home parents and caretakers transitioning back to the workplace, low-income individuals and members of remote communities.

Effective communication is a necessary component of true connection. Today’s emails and texts do not cut it. We have all seen the damage ill-written and misinformed tweets and posts can cause. Unfortunately, those are the main ways that many people of all levels of influence communicate these days. If I were to take this a bit further, I would say that technology can also foster fear. How? With people losing their skill to communicate effectively, they are also losing their confidence. When opportunities present themselves to further their business or personal relationships, many are not pursued out of fear. More often than not, such opportunities need to be created. That is a skill in itself. For many people, the fear of looking like a fool is very real. Now, don’t get me wrong. These fears always existed with many of us, but in the past there were very few options for communication. There was writing a letter (Remember that? I bet my twelve year old son doesn’t!), a phone call or a face to face meeting. When you were really trying to make something happen, it usually came down to a face to face meeting. Now, that people have the option to tweet, post, email or text instead, the skill of effective face to face communication is waning. This type of communication is a critical component of connection and maintaining connection. Today, there are video calls, but there is always the risk of being too relaxed at home, forgetting to lock the door to your home office and your two young children dance and scoot their way into view. (I am still dying over that BBC interview! Queue laughing emoji with tears!) As a working mother, I have found myself in similar predicaments. So, I can sympathize. Video calls are not quite the same as more formal face to face meetings, where you can devote all your attention to the conversation at hand. Of course, that is if you are not checking emails on your computer, texting your partner about how your meeting is boring you to tears or playing Candy Crush Saga. I am sure there are those that would say, ‘I tweet, post, email and text and my business and personal relationships are all good!’. Are they? Are they really? (Asked with a lifted brow for effect.) Or are your virtual relationships not a true reflection of reality? Hence, ghosting, where people disappear from your digital world without a trace. People don’t have to end a relationship face to face anymore, they can just disappear off the virtual face of the earth. It’s crazy!!

Without true connection, we are lost. When we are called to work together towards a common goal, we can’t without connection! Look at what happened with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Members of the same party could not get on the same page. I am sure many emails and texts were exchanged and face to face meetings had transpired. However, it comes down to how well we communicate, when we connect, that makes all the difference. Maybe I will get a call from President Trump, requesting a workshop for himself, the House and the Senate on strategic partnerships and the effective communication skills they require! If I do, I will direct him to my course series, “Brand Alignment: The Power of Strategic Partnerships”. President Trump, all you have to do is visit my company website, and click on the ACADEMY tab at the top of the page. You’re welcome! LOL! ;-)


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Birungi Ives

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