‘Lives’ - The hidden danger in transmitting content

2020 has changed the world and that is a fact! Coronavirus or ‘CV-19’ will forever be a "watershed" in people's lives.

Offices and houses merged into one space, work hours and leisure hours as well. The digital world has become even more expansive with 'happy hours' and 'onboarding' of new employees now being virtual. It is also a fact that the profession of 'influencer' started to have a greater proportion and adhesion in 2020. It is more and more common (and also a joke for some) that people call themselves 'influencers' or add the term 'official' on their social media profiles.

In the professional field, it has always been a privilege and synonym of prestige acquired over many years of experience, to be able to speak at a congress or symposium. This was the “watershed” for many. The moment when the career and the years of success were consolidated in the opportunity to be able to transmit knowledge to other professionals of different industries and segments interested in the subject, whatever it was. That one could have exclusive access to the life and career history of a given speaker. Thus, the event organizer was responsible for verifying the content about to be served. The organizer was also responsible for evaluating and granting the seal of approval that a certain professional had the experience, career, results and knowledge worth sharing with other professionals in a lecture. Large sums of money were invested to have comments like "Did you see the tool the guy used to maximize Savings?" or “I participated in a lecture with the guy from company 'x' and that's how they implemented the supplier relationship program,” arise organically, and the lectures were always ended with a 'cocktail' at the end of the day with objective of expanding the network of the participants — participants who had the necessary credentials (and whose companies had invested monetarily in their registration) to participate in the event. Well, the year is now 2020! We are in the midst of a pandemic in which suddenly “assemblies” of any form are not allowed. From birthday parties to football games, from theatrical performances to professional symposia, from "overnight to night" we have been forced to stay at home, keep interactions with other human beings to a minimum, and connect with the world through a computer screen.

At first it was fun. People who never had a chance to work from home had to relearn how to do their job. Supervisors had to be creative to ensure the performance of their teams. Students had to learn to be productive by interacting with a virtual teacher. Teachers had to relearn how to control a group of students while online. Gradually, leisure has also been transformed into the virtual world. While major events, concerts, and music festivals canceled their face-to-face meetings, other virtual meetings were created. In mid-2020, let the first stone be thrown at anyone who has not seen at least one live performance by their favorite artist. These so-called Lives, have become a way for artists to continue interacting with their audiences while guaranteeing a form of remuneration, whether through sponsors whose logos appear in the live broadcasts, or by charging admission to watch the virtual show. On the one hand the interaction with the artist and other people disappeared, on the other, the long lines to go to the bathroom or to buy a drink at the show did too. If before, you had to dress up and put on a special outfit to watch your favorite band, now you can jump up and turn up the volume on your computer, eating popcorn and wearing pajamas in your living room!

It did not take long for these benefits of the virtual world to be realized by the organizers of corporate events. Now, why bother to look for a suitable place that will accommodate hundreds of people (or thousands depending on the event)? Why bother with the business license, the inspection of the fire department, the Happy Hour food, the logistics of the speakers, parking of hundreds of cars, and with how the participants will be transported from the parking lot to the event location, if we can make the event available with just a few clicks? There is still much controversy about whether or not events will continue virtually after the pandemic has passed, but for now, this has been the best solution. And that's when the problems started.

What used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even more depending on the event), started to cost much less.

If, at leisure, dozens of lives started to pop up in the corporate world, the trend also followed, and dozens of invitations were sent weekly (and many automatically). Suddenly, we found ourselves overwhelmed by events and we needed to prioritize the ones that we really wanted to participate in.

Again, little time passed before companies that in the face-to-face world would not be able to afford to organize an event, decided to do so. The same also happened with professionals who might not be able to conduct a face-to-face lecture to hundreds of people and easily did so through a screen. The virtual events lost the “approval stamp” of the event organizers and ‘anyone’ now has the chance to disseminate content.

But is all the content transmitted in Live quality content? Do the people who are transmitting this content have the credentials for that? Do not be fooled by ‘digital solutions,’ take a close and critical look at the content of the Live. Use social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Club House to research the career of the professional who is sharing professional information. Pay attention to the materials that the professional is using, as well as the environment in which the Live is being made. Another valuable tip is to pay attention to the data being requested so that you can access the Live. Many companies share irrelevant information just to create a database of contacts and later flood our inbox with advertisements about systems, training, solutions, etc.

Still, as a result of the pandemic, several professionals who used to sit in the offices of large companies, suddenly had their positions eliminated, and saw the dissemination of content as an opportunity for entrepreneurship (Have you stopped to notice how many "coaches" have appeared?).Remember that there is a fine line between knowledge for you (how I do things) versus good market practices (like the best in the market, the best professionals, the best companies do things). The power to speak on behalf of the whole is something that must be achieved, with a lot of work, effort, research, and especially time and experience. You don't automatically earn the right to teach or speak on behalf of other professionals just because the pandemic has opened up this communication channel, and suddenly you have an audience of several purchasing professionals to listen to you. In fact, this can be a terrible trap! With the internet and virtual events, it is not possible to know exactly who is on the other side of the screen. Imagine that you are talking about trading on a Live and William Ury is watching. Imagine that you are discussing Porter's 5 forces and Michael Porter himself is watching. To be less extreme, imagine that your possible future boss is in a Live that you’ve decided to do, and that for whatever reason, the discussion goes on a path that you don’t feel very comfortable talking about. It can be embarrassing, and be a serious fault in your career. Never, under any circumstances, do a Live if you’re not comfortable and think: ”Would I talk about this to an audience of 100 executives, Presidents, and CPOs in suits (or in high heels)?” And in relation to watching a Live also think: “Does this person have enough knowledge to add something?”

The internet is full of pitfalls, and Lives are just one more.

Everything in moderation, including moderation, Oscar Wilde once said.

Written by Flavia Paiva