Archives for category: Knowledge Networking

LONDON, 21 April 2018


I feel as if I have been half way around the world and back again since I last blogged on WordPress and, in a way, I have.

This week it was a year since my book Fully Connected was published in hardback and now paperback. It has been 365 days in which I have done over 365 talks, interviews, articles, special posts about the book. I have been to cities in the UK, US, Europe. It’s been wonderful, exhausting, exhilarating.


Of course because of how the world is now connected, I have been in a sense, everywhere. The world is not just connected 24/7, or 24 nanosecond, but the history of what we connect to and communicate with is tracked and monitored in minute data detail so that the consequences will rebound on us indefinitely. Read this brilliant piece by Jamie Bartlett to see the scale of it.


The photo you see at the top is of me aged six, in 1970 in Peru. I went around the world abit as a child, but all my life I have lived mostly in a bubble of one kind of socioeconomy, middle class, midde European, and one which is increasingly growing disaffected with full connection, and beginning to see problems of overload, of fake news, of trolling, as the definition of what a quarter of a century of the internet has brought about.

But the world is bigger than a single demographic bubble of affluence. For all the real problems of connectedness, the internet and social networks offer vital freedom and democracy too: I was reminded of this when attending the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards in London this week.


I came across this stunning painting below at The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently. Painted by the Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral in the 1920s it depicts workers, in all their diversity and in all their gloomy entrapment to the grind of work itself.


This for me is what analysing the world of full connection has to be about. Are we productive and if not, why not? Are we creative and if so, do we define creativity in all workplaces, ie shopfloors and factories, or just groovy workspaces filled with hydroponic plants and hip furniture? The idea of wellbeing at work is one which I am not alone in exploring. I most recently discussed it with Arianna Huffington, who has started an excellent platform and corporate learning programme which I have begun to contribute to, called Thrive Global.



Another reason why I feel nostalgia being back on the blog is that I had the equivalent of an affair with another social medium. I strayed from the predictable, the safe, and I fell in love – didn’t everyone – with email newsletters, which were so glamorous and reached so many people, so directly…so tempting.

Except, actually, so much so that this format of emailing everyone regardless of whether they have opted into receive information is shortly going to be outlawed, via the GDPR European legislation which comes into final effect in five weeks’ time.

I realise that it is far more valuable to communicaton with people who already have interest in what you are saying and writing and who will spread word organically and naturally, than trying to cram more into people’s inboxes when our attention is already fragmented to hell and back.

So. Fully Connected. Fully back on WordPress. Fully happy to be here again.

Email me any comments:




Do not worry about overdoing the mince pies. Chances are you are doing something very healthy this month-long celebration of Christmas, a “festive Season” in which most of us get to come off social media more than usual and are forced to be actually social. Call it face-to-face in a Facebook Age. 

In April my new book about what I call Social Health will be published. Fully Connected: Surviving & Thriving in the Age of Overload looks at the whole business of connection and its discontents in modern society. In organisations, in culture, in everyday life.

Fully Connected takes as a starting point the idea that people, be they wearing professional, personal (or indeed party) hats in their lives, have far more coping strategies and tactics around physical and mental health than around anything to do with their connected health. We need a system, and that system I’ll be publishing, is Social Health.

But you can steal a march. Start by making an early 2017 New Year’s Resolution to treat your diary as your body and aim to control 80% or more of what goes in it….start to notice over Christmas who you see because you love them, or who you reconnect with because you like them, or who you meet who tells you something interesting and who you feel you trust. Start to think about what you do and don’t read, watch, hear, because you are overloaded. Start to think about ways you can bring some order to your department or organisation just like you do with any other kind of New Year’s Resolution.
And start, whatever you do, to get off Facebook, or ay social media you overly rely on as your main way of connecting to other people with for a bit. Never mind the echo chamber, the reinforcing of stereotypical ideas, the algorithm-chosen messages and advertisements. There is no substitute – and I mean no substitute, even if Skype is an adequate proxy when needs must – for face-to-face contact.

Using your 5 senses to smell, see, touch, taste, hear in the company of another person, other people, to experience them fully and not in 140 characters or in carefully edited picture postings, or any other kind of ‘sharing’. That is one aspect of Social Health.

Hexagon Thinking….coming soon in my book Fully Connected

This Christmas, this party season, whoever you hang out with, be yourself with them, not an off duty avatar. Bring yourself to the party and don’t overshare the pictures afterwards. In other words, be Fully Connected.

In the new year you can see where I will be speaking about the book on @juliaconnects on Twiter.

Good Health is good for you, we all know that. A quick high intensity exercise burst at the gym, or a run, or a good night’s sleep – these all do ourselves ‘ the power of good’. Up until the middle of the last century having good health really meant staying alive, and not dying young: the “Spanish Flu” pandemic 1918-19 which killed many more millions than the First World War itself showed how a common bug which has low mortality can rocket around a population weakened by poor nutrition, bad sanitation, the spreading effect of mass mobility and a factor like war. 

But in 1945 after the Second World War something changed. The UN was created and with it a new body, The World Health Organisation. They wanted to create a world which was healthy enough not just to survive life but to thrive in it. The original definition is interesting, not least because it still stands today:
“a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of injury and disease”.

One word stands out for me: the word “social”. We have come a long way to understanding and practicing good physical and mental health and well-being, but social well-being? Today we have not just a physical obesity crisis – 20% of the world is on course to  be clinically obese by 2025 – but we have a different kind of crisis and deprivation: Information obesity, time poverty and network blockage. 

We are officially in the Age of Overload. Those in control of their schedules and diaries are regarded as infinitely richer than those who are not. Networks are for many people an overwhelming tangle comprising work-related and purely personal databases, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp in a permanent cacophony of addictive sharing rather than a set of trusted relationships who can guide us through the thickets. The MIT psychology Professor Sherry Turkle has written about how conversation is being sidelined by a new condition: “phubbing: the art of talking to other people but with your eyes on your phone”.
The modern fitness revolution was kick- started by the actress Jane Fonda in 1982 with her famous workout video. Something interesting happened the same year: TIME magazine named ‘The Computer’ as its celebrated ‘Person of the Year’. This year, next year, we need a new kind of fitness, one which has been made necessary by the very computerised technology which keeps us all connected – fully connected – all of the time.

We need to know how to switch off, how to manage information overload better, how to connect better face-to-face in a Facebook world, and how to build networks which are not a tangle of virtual tubes but real relationships. We can start with learning how to treat our diaries like our bodies – only putting something in which we feel is good and healthy for us.
Here, then, is my definition of a new kind of health: Social Health: “To maintain a balance of activity, mindset and connections which enhance well-being and productivity”. 

I’m writing what I hope will be the blueprint for Social Health in the home, the office, the corridors of policymaking. Our behaviours have changed substantially around physical and mental health. The next big push needs to be Social Health. 

“Fully Connected: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Overload” will be published by Bloomsbury early 2017.

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