What 127 Hours Tells us About Social Networks

In an interview this week for Mark Kermode’s Film Review show, Danny Boyle made it clear that he used the success of Slumdog to make a film that might otherwise not have been made. To leverage the success of 2010 most acclaimed film is an indication that 127 hours is more than this years ‘would you?’ movie.

It, it is the true story of Aron Ralston who gets trapped under a boulder whilst canyoneering alone in Utah. The desperate measure that he takes to free himself is well documented so it is not giving anything away to say that he was trapped by his arm, he has a multi-tool (a really cheap one) and a little under 127 hours to debate if he should … or should not.

Before, I go on you might be wondering what’s the connection between BI and Social Networks let alone the connection between Danny Boyle’s latest movie and Social Networks. Those that follow my posts and tweets will know that Social platforms interest me because I think they are changing the way we share and use information in business and will profoundly change the Business Analytics space over the coming years. A social platform has already made it into IBM Cognos 10 because these guys, again, are ahead of the game. Many don’t see it yet because the original use of social platforms have trivialised their significance but it’s there nonetheless.
Back to the connection. Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, is an all-American hero. He’s young, fit, strong, intrepid and independent. He is good at what he does, he has spent a lot of time in his chosen wilderness and is able to navigate it with speed and ease. In fact, at one point in his story, he briefly but convincingly takes the role of park guide. The hopelessness of his literal and figurative fall takes a long time to sink in for our hero. Indeed, when it does dawn on him that he could have shared his hiking plan with his friends or family it wouldn’t be exaggerating to call it an epiphany. It’s clearly a powerful realisation for Aron that he’s not a hero, he’s an arse.
There is a moment in the movie where Aron says ‘thank you’. It’s a strange moment. I don’t want to give away why it is strange but once you have seen the movie, you will know why. For me, it was significant because he knew that if he made it home alive (which was still, by no means certain) then he would be changed forever. He would live the rest of his life in the knowledge that however strong, smart and experienced he was that those tiny connections we all make each day matter. Sometimes in small ways because it’s just about about sharing. Sometimes in significant and surprising ways.

For me, I am continually and pleasantly surprised by what I learn on the subjects of analytics, organisational leadership, productivity, start-ups and social media in my twitter stream. It’s full of links to content that cover important ideas from solid thinkers. Admittedly none of them are life-saving but, at a stretch, a rare few might be described as life-changing. Each of them make a tiny but positive difference and sometimes someone in my network helps me (or me them) in a surprising way.


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