Saturday, July 05, 2008

Who Knew Social Networking Could Be So Social?

NECC2008 was the first national conference for me. I didn't know what to expect other than there would be lots of people. Well, that was certainly true, but what came as a pleasant surprise to me was how many great brains were there.

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 Steve Hargadon), 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!



Michelle said...

It was nice meeting you at NECC! Wish I had been in a discussion with you earlier in the week, rather than the last day of the conference!

Anonymous said...


I've truly enjoyed getting to know you over the past year or so through the DEN. Just wished it was more than just that purse totem that you remember me by for necc (T/I/C ;p) I look forward to hopefully picking your brain to help me pull off a tech fair at my school, possibly even coming up for a day. We'll talk though....need to get permission first from my admins.

Lee Kolbert said...

I don't need NECC to remember you. I value you for the great guy that you are! Who else would have come to our measly little conference here in Palm Beach? It was fun hanging out with you. I'll help you with your tech fair and you can count on me to be there.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to echo Michelle's comment--I enjoyed meeting you at NECC as well and wish it hadn't been the last day. I'm psyched about DEN and can't wait to have you join our ADE ranks!

NECC was such a great "social" experience for me too. Meeting all the great minds that I've come to admire and respect online has to be the highlight of the week.

Take care-and here's hoping we have more opportunities to meet f2f!

cwebbtech said...

It was awesome to meet you at NECC. It was my first NECC, and I have come to believe that the networking we all did across those days was as important, if not at some times even more important, than the conference itself!

I, too, have found that I feel so much more comfortable in the ed tech "society" because of the social networking applications such as Twitter, blogging, and podcasts.

I have begun gathering my information and ideas for the upcoming ADE applications - I'm excited to apply!

Thank you for sharing breakfast, and other social times with me. "See" you around the blogosphere, and Twitter!

samccoy said...

Thanks for this great post. I had to laugh because I really did recognize most of the people in your pictures from NECC2008, and I owe it all to educational social networks. I am wondering if you will blog about the scary stuff? ...In general terms. Always good to learn about safety.

IMC Guy said...

I'm glad we had a chance to meet and hang out a little at NECC. I'm looking forward to picking your brain about a few things down the road. Did you take that picture of Scott and me?

Like you, I enjoyed meeting the real people behind the blogs and tweets. It makes the connection more complete.

BTW, I would agree that Tom is a good purse holder.

dstall said...

It was so great to meet you at NECC! I would never have guessed that this was your first NECC. You are such a pro at blogging and tweeting and plurking I just thought you were a pro NECC attendee too! :)

I often don't get too involved with conversations (either virtually or physically) if I feel like I am the new kid on the block. I was so excited to meet you and it was so great talking to you! And, yes, I was one who said, "Hi, I am Deanna and I follow you on Twitter!" I apologize to anyone who was offended but I was genuinely very excited to meet you all!

This was my second trip to NECC and (I am really hoping the funds are available to go again next year.) I think the social part of NECC is so important! Sometimes in this time of educational change we feel like the lone warrior. Our social networks are so important and they will help us through this change. I too was so surprised to see so many folks; friends,from our social networks.

I look forward to reading more of your blog and hearing from you on Twitter/Plurk. And maybe even meeting up with you next year in Washington DC... hopefully on one of the first days, not the last!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I wish I recognized more pics of the people. I did notice a few familiar names. It's amazing how fast you can build a network of people to follow. I appreciate all of your posts, maybe next year we'll be able to meet as well. Keep up the great blogging.

lbilak said...

Sure feel like I missed a great party. I would like to also know the 'dark side' of what made you pull some stuff from your public profiles. I guess there is always that odd experience.... Sheryl and I are curious!

Brenda Muench said...

I am also interested in hearing about the things that prompted you to make changes in your blog and flickr settings. Right now I'm running pretty much wide open on both of those fronts and would be interested in hearing about what made you change your status quo.

Dennis Grice said...


I too never would have guessed that this was your first NECC - you seemed so "plugged-in" to what was going on. Just goes to show the power of social networking and the DEN. It was a privilege to finally meet you in person and get to know you at the conference. Have a fun time at the DEN-LC Institute and hopefully I'll get a chance to see you again at ILC in October.

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pics from NECC. I, too, wish I could've been there.
I see you have already had some requests to explain this:
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.

Please elaborate for those of us who might be able to learn from your experience.

Anonymous said...


It was great meeting you too. The best part of NECC for me is meeting the members of the Network. There are some awesome minds in the group and they provide me with inspiration and encouragement.

Anonymous said...


What a treat to meet you and look forward to working with you on K12 online. Attaching faces to names makes your writing more meaningful and contextual.

日月神教-向左使 said...