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"I have a great following and some influence, and if I’m not using it to make the world a better place, what the hell am I doing?”



In this episode, I have a conversation with social media guru, Brian Fanzo. We met recently at Social Media Marketing World here in San Diego, where I live. We connected deeply and quickly and have formed a strong friendship over the past couple of months.
Due to the nature of social media, we were able to quickly hop online and research each other’s worlds and stories. And once we did so, we were able to feel more connected and to understand each other better than many neighbors that have lived 20 feet from each other for decades. There’s something powerful in that. 
I had a direct window to see what he really cares about and how he shows up, because of his social media presence and vice versa.

I’ve not had the greatest relationship with social media over the years, but guys like Brian are helping me see the light.
And I mean that on a lot of levels. He’s spreading his “Digital Empathy” philosophy around the web and inspiring people to connect in deeper, more meaningful ways, and that’s something I can get into. 
I used to think it was really self-absorbed to just constantly post on social media about everything you do throughout the day. And that’s still largely true. But there’s another level that we can engage on where we actually offer value by letting people into our lives. 

"There is a difference between transparency and oversharing or being artificial online.
Right now, we are demanding authenticity and transparency and every business is in the business of building trust. And trust isn’t built by a logo or technology, it’s built by people. The question now is how do you get in front of other people so you can begin to develop that trust.
That’s where digital empathy comes in for me. We have to know who we are, and we have to commit ourselves to listen to and connect with our audience.” 

You have to ask yourself, “Does this technology enhance my life?" And that causes us to ask, “What would an improvement to my life actually look like”? It spurs us into complexity, to contemplate how our relationship with technology is influencing what we believe and who we are. 
And in today’s world, we have more ways to amplify a message than ever before. That’s important to remember, as it eliminates a lot of excuses that have prevented us from being a more connected society, up till now. Yes, social media can create noise, but it can also foster inertia and momentum towards a more deeply connected and harmonized society. 
Now that we can technically connect more efficiently, we have the opportunity to leverage that connectivity towards fostering deeper relationships. 
"You can never fix stupid, or stop people from doing bad things”, [Brian], but that shouldn’t stop us from utilizing technology when we know it has just as much power to foster experiences that enhance our lives. "No technology will ever fix human problems." [Brian] 
It’s up to us to elevate our perspective and then use technology to integrate and amplify that perspective into our lives. 
There is a yin and yang to everything. We just have to choose which side we will contribute to. 
Back in the 90s and early 2000s, we saw society running off the rails, striving for excess, and exploiting our planet. And we lost trust in our institutions and leadership. But, "People want to be a part of something, and they want to trust each other again.” [Brian]
We can connect with like-minded people more easily and effectively than ever before. That’s a gift, a miracle, right there in front of us. It’s our choice to seize the opportunity. 
People want to hear our stories. That’s what people connect with. And right now, technology has a profound ability to help us tell and experience our stories, now more than ever. 
"If we’re open to sharing our story, we’ll be more open to learning about other people’s stories.” [Brian]
We talked about how social media held up the Standing Rock movement and how it’s continued to benefit humanity by allowing us an effective platform to amplify our message and rally people together for resistance and action. 
We aren’t attracted to people because of what they do, we’re attracted to them because of why and how they do it, so that’s what we need to be talking about on social media. We care about the core of who you are and how you do it. Brian’s motto is, "Show you care about others before you show how much you care about yourself.” That means you need to be engaging, loving, and thinking deeply. 
Social media is about telling your unique story so you can connect more deeply with others. 
"Don’t give the bad extra attention, and go out of your way to give the good lots of attention. That’s how we change the consciousness of social media. It’s really that simple.” [Brian]

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