A story about Connected: The Film and why you must see it


I saw Connected: The Film by Tiffany Shlain last night at its Australian premiere, organized by Annalie Killian.

The first thing I have to say is that the film is absolutely fantastic. It nails how we as humans live an intensely interdependent world, and how our recognition of and response to that will determine our future. I think the more people that see it the better, so I dearly hope it will get a healthy – or even massive – audience.

I have to say I am not an independent reviewer, and that in itself is a highly relevant story.

When I wrote the book Living Networks, I was determined to show people that ‘living networks’ was not just a metaphor, but a real phenomenon. I wrote an extensive introduction showing how the networks were literally coming to life. The editor my publisher had put in place to guide me told me in no uncertain terms – and quite rightly – that this was not the best way to start a business book. I dropped it and started the book very differently.

I remembered all this last year and dug up the introduction to put up as a blog post titled Autopoiesis and how hyper-connectivity is literally bringing the networks to life. The post got considerable attention, Tiffany saw it, and since our outlooks are so aligned she sent me an email. We had a couple of video conversations, and Tiffany sent me an early version of the film for my thoughts. I was delighted to see what she was doing.

So when I had a look at this year’s AMPLIFY festival organized by my friend the amazing Annalie Killian, and saw that the festival theme was ‘Everything Connected’ it seemed entirely obvious to connect Tiffany and Annalie, which I did by a tweet:

@maverickwoman given the theme of #Amplify you should invite @tiffanyshlain – her new film Connected out soon

Annalie duly connected with Tiffany, and while it unfortunately didn’t work out to get Tiffany to come speak at the AMPLIFY festival, Annalie got the film to show at an Australian special viewing last night.

Annalie made the event into a fund-raiser for One Laptop per Child. Annalie grew up South Africa, and has seen first hand the wealth divide. One of the reasons she is so inspiring is that she really seeks to make a difference in what she does.

Today Annalie is running “the world’s first smartphone famine” fundraiser, with the intention of buying a laptop for every child in the Acacia primary school in Northern Territory. What an awesome cause.

So connections, blog posts, and tweets end up helping to give children in far flung places access to the wonders and opportunities of the digital world.

Tiffany’s aim is to start a conversation about interdependence and connectedness in their own lives. 

Go to the Connected film website, see what she is doing, and engage in the conversation.

Finally make sure you watch the film and get others to watch it. Tiffany was brave and ambitious in interweaving her family’s personal story with the overarching messages about the role of connectedness and interdependence in humanity’s past and future, and she succeeded admirably. In fact it was critical to ground the concepts of a connected world in a real story of love and the deep emotional bonds that define us.

I feel privileged to have watched it.