Creating social interaction brings people together and the world doesn’t feel so isolating.
Where we are today, we probably need familiarity from others more than ever. There are issues with data protection, mass messaging with no sense of self and companies fighting to be heard over someone else, by treating every space as free advertising. We look around, but not at each other.
Thursday 24th May, was the You Are The Media Conference. People came together from all places of the UK.
This was more than a ‘training’ event. There are a lot of people that came that I cannot call clients, but we all came together because we believe in learning together.
More In A Room
You learn better, when you learn together.
Drop out rates for online learning is extremely high. Up to 80% of online students drop out (via Sage Journals). In a way that makes sense, it is easily accessible, you are left to your own devices and provides flexibility ie. you don’t have to travel and you can do it in bed.
Learning together ensures a commitment from everyone.
When everyone is together, you interact more. When people do it for the sheer belief to learn and talk together, it’s a strong place to be.
In 2013 I started a weekly email called You Are The Media. Going back a bit further, I started blogging in January 2012, have a look at the rubbish I shared back then. The reason I did it was to have a sense of consistency to share what I was reading, watching and listening that related to marketing today. It was for me, as much as it was for anyone else. It helped shape the way I thought and how I could express myself. It was more about my own self confidence and putting myself forward, rather than thinking, ‘this is going to be lead machine.’
As things progressed, more people came along for the journey, so I decided in May 2016 to bring together subscribers to a monthly lunch event, where the blog effectively became alive. The more Lunch Clubs that have taken place, the more clarity we have. There is a defined tone where we the sessions will cover either A or B:
A) those who specialise within a medium ie. journalist, marketer, author, podcaster, event organiser, social, SEO
B) Those who can show the proof within their businesses or side projects ie. they can grow an audience, a side project aligns with their main business, they can monetise, they can do it over a sustainable period
This format became the blueprint for the You Are The Media Podcast and this also becomes the format for the You Are The Media Conference. I always believe you can never learn from hearing about what the likes of Lego, Red Bull, Coca Cola do when it comes to a content led approach, as this represents a different world of limitless budgets, huge teams and a step outside from reality. Everything that I have hoped to share is about having a sense of realism to this. When something is believable people become more compelled to delve deeper and take on a shared sense of ownership. This is what makes people step forward.
It is this sense of people coming together, that we sometimes miss in this endless race to treat everyone as a potential lead.
Building And Sticking With It
Whilst I appreciate that people will be here for a content marketing themed event, there is a second layer to this. Many people in the audience feel more like distant cousins.
The You Are The Media project has been built by other people who have stuck by, participated, shared together and have made it miles better than if it was just me thinking I can do everything myself. For a reality check, the first Lunch Club in 2016 we had around 20 people, the weekly email was a a pretty quiet room back in 2014.
If no one had read an email, decided to subscribe, sent an email, came to a Lunch Club or I had decided that writing each week was becoming a bit of a burden, I doubt I would be doing a conference. In the words of Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, “If you want to special results, you have to feel special things and do special things together. You can speak about spirit, or you can live it.”
By teeing up these ways to bring people together in a more social and connected way, backs up the idea that learning never stops. There will be people who get off, there will be people who get on. What it means is that people are coming together to learn and maybe pick up a conversation with someone they may not have had to opportunity to have before.
It does not matter how technically advanced we become. We can discover a new dawn of bots, AI and voice recognition but the fundamentals of our survival since we lived in caves and made big fires, has been based on trust and how connected we are to others.
Feeling Part Of Something
We genuinely need each other. Even if it is someone from the You Are The Media community to pick up the thread from what someone else has said on Twitter, it is how we become more caring of those we can relate to and feel a part of something with.
It doesn’t matter where you are. It is not just about reaching out to those who are outside your front door, you can build from wherever your belief system lies. Community is not something that is just a buzzword, when you encourage activity, support and can amplify a message, things start to happen.
When I started this ‘properly’ nearly five years ago, it looks like time bears a huge significance. I know that I would not have been able to create a conference if the message created was rather generic (hands up, it was for the first year). People aim for perspective from a hill, but many can’t make it past the window cill.
Let’s Round Up
Creating a sense of community where people can draw from and interact together, represents the ability to stand tall, whilst others scratch around and look for crumbs to pick up on.
I thank everyone who has been a part of this. The ‘are you ok’ emails that I have received when I haven’t sent a Thursday email by 12pm, the ‘mobile version email isn’t compatible, what have you done?’ WhatsApp messages, the ‘there was only meat options left and I’m vegetarian’ at the Lunch Clubs, to the ‘thanks’ email I receive within 30 minutes of sending the weekly email. All these have helped shape and make something stronger, where every single piece of input is valued.
It means a lot doing something together rather than doing everything alone.