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From being in so many different industries, I know that they are all the same in being so internally focused as you describe. Yet, intellectually, they all know that new ideas come from outside it.

I like your point that There's no hiding in real life - which highlights both the risk(s) and benefit(s) of meeting F2F - and the ideas from Stephen Downes about the importance of diversity, autonomy, openness, connectivity (a refreshing shift from the more common emphasis on quantity [e.g., of links or followers]).

I recently started reading Sherry Turkle's book, Alone Together, where she talks about some related ideas regarding our insecurities and anxieties about intimacy, and how we "look to technology for ways to be in relationships and protect ourselves from them at the same time".

While I believe that online connectivity is playing a role in people speaking more openly - and risking other actions - in countries where they have long been stifled, I think the way these events are unfolding even when the Internet is turned off is a powerful reminder of the importance of cultivating real [offline] connections.

Nicely put. I've always said (to anyone that'll listen) that one of the greatest things about blogging and being on twitter is the amazing people that you get to meet through the connections you make. People I never would have otherwise met. Thankfully, years later, that is still happening for me.

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