Communication technology unites us, relays news equally with opinion, transports us to worldwide events, and shrinks distances between our relationships. We’re tuning into events that we’ve never before been able to access and witnessing other people’s experiences unfold in real-time.
Our communications paradigm has shifted, and with it, our interactions within our immediate environments have evolved.
Social media and mobile technologies have paved the way for new boundaries of relationships and connection while presenting challenges unique to our time: the ability to remain present, contemplative, and aware of our inter- and intra-personal relationships. These technologies help us multitask, search news, and browse several activity feeds at once. Although we’re unable to extend time, we’re doing our best to pack more into every second, reacting and responding to natural disasters, self-organizing at an incredible speed. Furthermore, businesses and brands can more quickly react to customer complaints, address supply chain problems, and engage new consumers.
In 2014, Social Media Week will peer deeper at this shift on a global level across all of our cities around the globe. This will provide a framework for the thousands of individuals and organizations around the world to address questions related to the impact and reach of social media and technology and draw inspiration from thought leaders who will their own ideas and inspire discussions.
Leading the framework for this discussion will be our global theme for 2014: The Future of Now: Always On, Always Connected.
Social Media Week, partnering with Nokia, will explore what this all means on a global scale. In our sixth year of operation, reaching attendees in 26 cities, together with an online audience of 1M who connect via streaming video, social, and mobile experiences, The Future of Now will be our global focus for the next 12 months.
Within The Future of Now there are 6 underlying principles that lead to a better understanding of this always on, always connected world:
TWO SIDES OF TECHNOLOGY
How can we balance and preserve humanness — meaning the ability to listen, empathize, engage, focus and be present in the moment — despite the constant disruption that technology enables? SMW14 will help us all learn how to both appreciate and temper the pull of technology in our lives.
Read more of our thoughts on our obsession with technology on The Next Web here.
THE MEANING OF “NOW” TODAY
How has “now” shifted? How can we find and embrace the technologies that lead us to have more time and focus, not less? Through these discussions, an understanding of the difference between immediately accessible and urgent will emerge.
BUILDING PURPOSE INTO EVERY MOMENT
What does it mean to be “more human” in an age of digital and technology? What tools can we use to establish a disciplined routine for social media engagement and optimize our day with cognitive mapping tools? How can we use technology to develop more meaning into our relationships?
DIRECTING ENERGY AND FOCUS FOR PARTICIPATION
How can we achieve more through collaboration and co-creation? How can we facilitate meaningful conversations, practices for devoting time to creative thinking and mindful contemplation, and automation of technologies that create more time for you?
THE NETWORKED COMMUNITY
How can generosity and the sharing of goods through virtual channels lead to strong local communities, inspire a global consciousness, and further personal and professional goals?
What sustainability problems currently exist? How can we aggregate and organize new ideas, establish new design paradigms for user behaviors, and encourage collaboration and co-creation to develop better solutions?