This year has started in a very different way for me than last year. As some of my longer term readers will remember, there were quite a few dramas and a few surprises at the time. Not only did I come to a new understanding of the value of life, but also the importance of family, the generosity of friends and the need to focus on creating lasting, beneficial change in a circle that is as wide as you can imagine.

This year, I took time out from all things digital to reflect on a dramatic year. I spent time with mostly with my family, but was also thinking about my friends, colleagues and those who made a big difference to my life over the past year. I responded to only a handful of emails and my most adventurous/creative effort was to pull together this Animoto to present to my family. I wanted to find a way to show how different 2008 was to 2007 … and to remind us all to focus on the future, not to dwell on the past.

And as 2008 began, I held back from posting here. I didn’t login to Twitter. I frugally checked Facebook. I held back from social media in all its forms. I chose to read instead. I read the blogs of my friends of those I admire. I discovered new, worthy, brilliant blogs (and will post links soon). I read books like Joe Jaffe’s excellent Join the Conversation, John Grant’s The Brand Innovation Manifesto and Ian Jones’ Ned Kelly (I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere — brands and highway robbers). I thought, read and remembered.

2008 promises to be a year of change and a year of connections … and I hope, happiness. As Lewis Green’s new book Lead with Your Heart discusses, happiness comes from a type of service — to our families, friends, businesses, ourselves and our world. Lewis links the bottom line with doing good … and it FEELS like the right time for such an approach. For me, the cross-over between work and play, between profession and passion, and profit and generosity fills me with happiness. I am never more excited than when I bring two different areas together, be they people, ideas, causes or businesses.

My story for 2008 will be built around this. What we started with The Age of Conversation in 2007 we will continue and grow in 2008. Lookout for another ground breaking collaborative publication this year, a meetup of epic proportions and a raft of ideas, commentary and connections on social media, branding and digital storytelling. While it has been a slow start for me, I can feel the pace, beat and energy already starting to build. Peace to all my readers and friends this 2008!