You have 4 friends on LinkedIn and you are connected to 5 million people through your 4 connections. That covers all of New Zealand.
Kiwis may recollect the advertisement by New Zealand mobile service provider “2 Degrees”. The advertisement claimed the world was connected through 6 degrees of separation; however in good old New Zealand it was just 2 degrees of separation connecting one to the other (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzCeeuwm6aA). Everyone knows someone who knows someone.
Among mammals inhabiting Earth, humans in particular are a species of higher intelligence when it comes to being self-aware of how they are connected not just to the present, but also to their past. Humans are unique in being able to project their connections into the future.
As a species we are constantly developing more ways to connect than real tangible connections. We are connected to our relatives (genetics), memories, events, places, memorabilia and now through a myriad of social networks – Twitter, Bebo, LinkedIn, Facebook, ancestor.com, geni etc. etc. In fact I believe there is an opening in the market to develop a new app to connect us with the various social connection platforms.
Our desire to uniquely project our individuality and our desire to connect with others is like two sides of a coin. We share with few other mammals the drive to express our individuality and personality. Again like social networking we as a species have through evolution found new and newer ways to express our individuality. It is so profound, we have a paper in marketing called “Vanity marketing”.
Human through evolution have been genetically hard-wired to be social beings that interact with various unique individuals. I recollect a quote by Albert Einstein that reads “I fear the day technology will surpass human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”. These days it is common to connect with unknown people on social platforms and feel connected with them only through posts and emoticons J. Last week I was at my son’s swim lessons and I noticed a couple that were sitting shoulder to shoulder and fully occupied in their respective iPhones’ interrupted with just cursory glances at each other’s screen and hardly noticing how their son was performing. In fact like many others it is my goal to have +500 contacts on my professional network LinkedIn.
This lack of connection has affected human society so much, I wonder if we will become sick before we become Idiots. Social media, the film industry and other platforms are in their own ways portraying this lack of connection. Be it the myth of the Himba tribe in Namibia that connects with an unborn child through conceptualization of a “Birth Song” (http://theperfectbirth.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/the-himba-namibia-the-birth-song/) or the 2009 movie Avatar that depicts the inhabitants of Pandora Na’vi’ connect with nature and other animals through a sacred connection established through an umbilical cord like extension.
The world may have started with a “Nothing” and then the Big Bang! Today, however the world is something to each of us and this something is connected in visible and invisible ways to us. Be it the planets and the stars in the cosmos, earthlings or the biosphere in which we live. Our connection to the moon is widely recognized and accepted. The moon is the reason why we have tides. The moon affects water currents, maintains stability of the Earth’s rotation on its axis and stabilizes the climate and many other unknown forms of connections, not to mention the connection it has to our half cousins the vampires and lunatics on full moon day.
While many connections are not tangible, they do result in physical manifestations. They can bring a tear to our eyes, gets our heart racing, or skip a beat, bring beads of sweat, give us goose bumps, feelings of pride or shame and more. Let us cherish and preserve the connections that matter. Let us honour our connections to the past and make new ones as we move along in time.
Adios from the Insight Kiwi’s desk