It's no surprise to anyone that I encourage online networking as a valuable source of professional growth. My experiences with Twitter and blogging, this past year, has allowed me passage into a sort of secret society that has been very exciting. It's very hard to explain, so I'm really not going to try very hard here. Perhaps if anyone reads this, and understands, they might take a stab at explaining. Anyway, as NECC2008 approached the excitement on the blogs and on Twitter grew. Take a look here for a sample of the Tweets about NECC! Check here also for Plurks about NECC.
People on other social networking sites, such as the NECC2008 Ning (created by were preparing for the conference by, for example, offering to share links, engaging in discussions with presenters w/Kevin Honeycutt, sharing photos, and the discussions continue! If you visit these links and read a few of the posts, you will see that many of the participants on these sites were people who were unable to attend NECC in person, so they participated virtually. Not as good, but pretty darn close!
So what did I come away with?
Here comes my big fat NECC brain dump (thanks for the idea, Dean):
Finally meeting people, face to face, is an experience in itself. I've grown to "know" some pretty amazing people through these networks but at NECC, I had the privilege of meeting many of them and wanted to share a few things. For example, Kevin Jarrett recognized me from my online profile picture, Chad Lehman DOES look just like his cartoon profile picture, Cory Plough found me on Twitter at the same time I was commenting in a session, Kristin Hokanson and I spoke up quite a bit at an open discussion in the Bloggers Cafe and I think somebody might think we were cut from the same cloth, I was surprisingly comfortable in the Bloggers Cafe (even though apparently others felt intimidated...but I didn't get that memo), Ann Truger and Teryl Magee are the most fun on the dance floor, Darren Draper is extremely charming as is also Dean Shareski, Tom Turner is great at holding a girl's purse while she gets out on the dance floor, Ewan Mcintosh doesn't mind explaining some of the British words he tweets (now I know what it means when something is "dorked"), I'm looking forward to when Apple opens applications for their ADE program so I can apply and collaborate with Craig Nansen and Chris Webb (who BTW, didn't mind walking a few blocks at 7am JUST to have breakfast with me and Craig Nansen), Dennis Grice does not really look like one of the Simpsons, Scott Meech does look like his 'toon pic, Lori Abrahams gives excellent advice, Steve Dembo rocks in a Web 2.0 smackdown, Miguel Guhlin and Jennifer Dorman explained Diigo to me so that now I actually understand it and Hall Davidson is probably listening to this on his cellphone.
There were also many people who came up to me and told me they knew me from Twitter and even though David Jakes doesn't like that, I thought it was pretty cool! After all, making a connection with somebody in a limited amount of time, usually starts with a mention of something you already have in common. To me that's no different than someone coming up to me and saying, "I know you because my daughter was in your class" or "You gave a workshop a few months ago and you motivated me to make a change in my teaching ."
There were a few creepy moments too, which led me to remove a few things on my blog, change a few settings on my Flickr site and re-evaluate how I use online social networks.
Knowing so many people at such a huge conference such as NECC was totally unexpected. I imagine those who have attended NECC before have already experienced this whirlwind and are on to the true networking, collaborating and save-world-discussions that take place throughout the venue. I'm looking forward to next year when I will be more experienced and less shell-shocked.
Thank you to all the people who took the time to say hello and spend a few minutes chatting with me. It was nice to meet you!