The Digital Haves and Have Nots

The Digital Haves and Have Nots

Darren Kavinoky with popular Periscope personality Alexa Carlin
Darren Kavinoky with popular Periscope personality Alexa Carlin

Darren Kavinoky with popular Periscope personality Alexa Carlin at the Get Yourself Booked booth at Heroic Public Speaking Live event, February 2016

The Digital Age conundrum: “How Will We Connect The Next Billion People?” [] by Nadine Freischlad on references the UN’s estimate that more than half the world is currently offline. In Indonesia from where Freischlad writes the article, she reports, “To counter this, the government introduced a national broadband plan which aims for improved connectivity for all of Indonesia by 2019.” But as the Freischlad points out, three years offline is “an eternity in the internet age.” What will half the world miss out on between now and then?


This week I attended Michael Port’s Heroic Public Speaking Live conference in Fort Lauderdale. The company I consult for,, sponsored a booth at the event. My perspective was one with a bird’s eye view of the attendees entering and leaving workshops, mingling, sharing stories and progressing throughout the week.


I ran into the same people day after day for the week we stayed and watched them evolve during that timeframe. I met people who are subject matter experts in every field you can imagine motivated to amplify their message.


These international professionals are either already paid keynote speakers, corporate speakers, or speakers aspiring to make it to the next level. People flew in from many different countries including Israel, India and Mexico. Either way, there was one component that threaded all attendees together. They were the digital haves.


Most found about the conference online, all registered for it online and as the week unfolded, connecting online was an overriding theme. Attendees took notes on laptops, captured images on smartphones and shared their takeaways on social media.


Many of the workshops included references on to how to utilize and interact with your audience on Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook and webinars.   Ron Tite (@RonTite on Twitter) spoke about how his keynote speech has caught the attention of a popular hotel he frequents when he travels via his tweets. So much so that they not only sent him a thank you note for tweeting about their hotel, but also left him some personal touches referencing back to jokes inside his speech when he checked in on his last stay.


Heroic Public Speaking Live also brought in popular Periscope ( personality Alexa Carlin (@alexarosecarlin on Twitter) in to broadcast the event from her channel. By the end of the event she had over 4,000 people watching her lives streams. Founder of Woman Empower Expo, (which is October 15, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale), Alexa Carlin sat down and explained to me the power of engaging with your audience online via the interactive social media platform.   As an early adopter of Periscope, she explained that her platform grew tremendously by engaging with her audience via this media outlet.


Vendors at Heroic Public Speaking Live were digitally based and focused. Webinar sales, LinkedIn tutorials, hosting companies, and endless tweets, facebook posts, social media connections overflowed the hallways. The growth seminars that took people out of their comfort zone by pulling people on stage at random to work on speech techniques, then let them retreat back into their digital comfort zones at class’s end where we witnessed them texting, checking in, and looking down.


The digitally advantage roamed the halls and all the while I thought about the people with no online access, the digital have nots. They didn’t know about this event. They could not click “register” or book a flight to Fort Lauderdale at the touch of a button. They could not meet all these professionals then stay connected with them on social media. They couldn’t accelerate their learning process by capturing it on their smart phones. They couldn’t increase sales by reaching a larger audience through social media. They couldn’t participate.


How will net neutrality set up the future so that everyone can participate? What changes can be made to close the gap in the digital divide between the digital haves and the have nots?

This post is for education purposes only for Syracuse University Newhouse Communications Journalism.

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