Within the past week, two people whom I respect (Jerry Michalski, founder of Sociate and Jen Zogg, an Episcopal priest) both pointed me toward this TEDX talk by Brene Brown (a research professor at the University of Houston’s School of Social Work) on the Power of Vulnerability.

In only 20 minutes, Brown’s research is funny and endearing, yet it cuts to the quick:  We live in a vulnerable world, and we numb vulnerability in order to avoid the fear we feel about connecting to others and being truly seen.

As I think about vulnerability, community, and empathy, I am drawn to a concept I’m calling the Porous Person.  In contrast to an impermeable person, the porous person of the next decade has the potential to be more acutely aware of how their lives (health, financial status, purchasing decisions) are influenced by others and vice versa.

The drivers of this?  social contagion theory & network effects, growth of self-tracking (ie-Quantified Self), digital overlays on our “real-world” experience, and the explosion of context-aware data we’ll have at our fingertips to help tell the story of how we permeate each others’ worlds.

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