05/10/2011 06:40 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Egocentric or Allocentric Connectedness?

Last Saturday I watched Brian Solis interview filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, the founder of Webby Awards, about her new film Connected.

Near the end, Solis made a thought-provoking statement -- that our connections today are greatly centered around ourselves in an egosystem, because they center around our own interests. This bothered me. I am constantly trying not to be enticed by the rampant growth of narcissism in our world today.

Self-absorption is something to mindfully resist. If we only focus on our interests and not on the community at large, we risk not understanding different world views and how those differences contribute to our world. Also, intellectual disruption leads to growth.

Parallel play is what children do before they are able to see and understand what others are doing. It is a normal part of child development, but adults should guard against parallel conversations. I blogged on how small business can do this in Parallel Playing.

Is our connectedness causing us to grow, or simply reinforcing our comfortable belief systems? I think we are at risk here. I often enjoy exploring the interests of others. This can simply be someone's hobby or their profession. These observations expand my perspective and lead to personal growth. We don't need to exclude ourselves from the tribes and interest groups that feed us, but we should continue to expand our understanding and be more allocentric in our connectedness.