Saturday, December 03, 2011

Have We Met?

It's been a really long time since I've blogged about Twitter. Mostly because Twitter has become so mainstream that there's almost no need for folks like me to keep spouting the benefits of its use. I've pretty much figured out that either you "get it" or you don't. The process of trying to convince people to give it a try, when they've already made up their minds that Twitter is a waste of time, is well... a waste of my time. Don't get me wrong; I still strongly believe in its use for networking and fun but I've evolved to the point where it's just too exhausting trying to drag in reluctant people only to find them two months down the road, having given up.

Having said that, I have no problem sharing that Twitter has changed me in many ways. Using Twitter has made me think very carefully about social networking in education and allows me to speak intelligently about its use in the classroom. Twitter has also afforded me the opportunity to make some connections that have led to some life-changing events and opportunities, as well as friendships. All would definitely not have happened outside of this use of social media.

Why the sudden urge for a big Twitter Group-Hug? posted a Tweet this morning that got me thinking:

There are so many people that I've connected with over the years that it's really difficult to remember our first connection, but I'm going to try. I'm deliberately only naming a few because if I try to name everyone who is important to me online, there would be way too many and I'll likely leave out someone very important. Please don't be insulted if I forget you. Leave me a comment and remind me of how we met.

I challenge you to write your own blog post doing the same. Be good to the Blogosphere and be sure to link back here and also reference Dean in your post; then challenge others to do the same and link back HERE and to YOUR POST. 
Here is when I met Dean for first time.

  • NECC 2008 Dean Shareski- I remember following and reading his , but don't think we actually connected in person until meeting in the Bloggers' Cafe at NECC in 2008. Dean was charming and acted like he knew me; I knew he didn't. That's ok, he made me feel welcome and that was the point. Since then, I've worked with some of Dean's university students, he's presented here at our district conference (and will again this year), and have worked together many other times. Dean is truly the "voice of reason" and one of my personal cheerleaders. Most notably though, he brings me Ketchup Chips, from Canada, every time he sees me. (Don't forget them in March, Dean.)
    Mark Wagner and Joyce Valenza 2009

and - EdubloggerCon 2009- It was an un-session that Mark Wagner was conducting on how to Jailbreak your iPhone. Joyce was brave enough to let us all watch as she went through the process as Mark explained. I broke out my Flipcam and filmed the whole process and later on edited it for Mark and sent it to him. Since then, Mark and I have connected at future conference and Joyce and I have also connected at many conferences and have enjoyed a few dinners out, vendor parties and good times.

    Here I am with Teryl; about to get lassoed. 
Teryl Magee - Here is an interesting Twitter story: Teryl and I followed each other on Twitter and we knew we were both but beyond that we really didn't know each other very well. One day, Teryl Tweeted that she needed a roommate for one night at FETC. I called a mutual friend from Discovery (DEN) and asked about Teryl and his response was that we would LOVE each other. So, I took a chance and Teryl and I met for the first time at FETC and that night shared my hotel room at FETC. Since then, we have been great friends and have shared many hotel rooms, drinks and laughter. (I love you, Teryl!)

    Rob Bayuk and me
  • Rob Bayuk - Rob followed me on Twitter and reached out to me to guest post on his over at Microsoft. I'm pretty sure it was when he was running a contest where he had a few edubloggers compete for the most comments. I think was one of them, but I don't think that is where she and I first connected (thus her name on the list at the end). Since then, Rob asked me to judge the  US Partners in Learning Forum and then again, recently the Global Forum. Both were amazing events for which I will forever be grateful to Rob and all the folks at Partners in Learning. And it all started on Twitter. 

Hall Davidson treats me to an In and Out Burger
In and Out Burger - My first time in California was at the Innovative Learning Conference (2008) and all over Twitter my friends were telling me I HAD to try these awesome burgers. Verdict? Meh! But my companion was great fun.

Speaking of the Innovative Learning Conference, it was there that I met two amazing women who have had an impressive impact on education. and Carol Anne and I met through some mutual friends at Discovery Education, she was also the closing keynote at ILC and we connected right away; spending much of our free time at ILC romping around together and staying in touch since. 

Me and Colette Cassinelli
Colette and I were first online Twitter pals, but met in person at ILC and have since worked together to give a presentation at ISTE and continue to stay connected, as well. 

Me and Rushton Hurley in 2009
and I met at FETC in 2009. This may not follow Dean's rules because I'm pretty sure we connected in person first and since stay in touch online. Rushton is one of those people I can listen to speak all day long and never be bored. He's a fascinating person and wonderful storyteller. He is also very funny and insightful. Rushton has since presented at our district tech conference and will be our opening keynote this year in March. (Rushton and I have a ritual of meeting at FETC each year and having dinner at a local Hookah restaurant. It's a long story that only Rushton can tell well, but our first visit there had us all laughing hysterically and fearing for our lives, at the same time.)

Now I need some help. There are lots of other people who's relationship I value greatly but I just can't remember how we first connected. Help me here. If you're reading this (and even if your name isn't listed below), please tell me in the comments how we met in person or first connected online. (P.L.E.A.S.E. forgive me if you're not on this list and should be. Feel free to kick my butt on the comments.) 
  • Chris Lehman
  • Angela Maiers
  • Chad Lehman
  • Dennis Grice
  • Karen McMillan
  • Jeff Utecht
  • Alec Couros
  • Karl Fisch
  • Kathy Schrock
  • Kevin Jarrett
  • Ken Shelton
  • Lisa Parisi
  • Lucy Gray
  • Michelle Baldwin
  • Michelle Bourgeois
  • Patti Harju
  • Paula White
  • Peter Reynolds
  • Terri Shay
  • Richard Byrne
  • Beth Still
  • Scott McLeod
  • Scott Floyd
  • Steve Hargadon
  • Vicki Davis
  • Bud Hunt
  • Bill Ferriter
  • Will Richardson
  • Katie Morrow
  • Gordon Shupe
  • Alfred Thompson
Readers: I challenge you to write your own blog post doing the same. Be good to the Blogosphere and be sure to link back here and then challenge others to do the same and link back HERE and to YOUR POST. Leave me a comment letting me know that you've written your own blogpost about this please. Thanks!



Here's the crazy part, Pal: We haven't met in person yet!

That's weird isn't it?

I've enjoyed your friendship, cheerleading and support for so long that it just feels like I "know" you in a physical sense.

(Did that sentence seem awkward?!)

; )

I can't remember our first digital interactions, but I remember being star-struck because you'd found something I'd written and decided to share it on the Palm Breeze Cafe.

I was new to digital spaces and that was one of the first times that I felt that my work had merit and might just be able to stand on its own beyond my classroom.

I owe you a beer for that.

Rock right on -- and someday we'll have to cross paths in person.



Hey Bill,
So many of the folks listed, I've also not had the pleasure of meeting in person yet, but you're right that it feels like we have. I know I shared your Pageflakes site once on PB CAFE (and mentioned you a few other times), but before that you and I did a podcast radio show with Ben and Steve for Voicethread. But, I still think we go back even further. And... I'll take that beer when (not if) we finally meet!


We'd been interacting online for a while, but we met at person at NECC in Washington, DC, I believe. If I'm correct, it was at Gary Stager's Constructivist Celebration at Sidwell Friends School. BUT... it could have been that year or the year before at Edubloggercon. Hard to say, but I'm glad we're online buddies! :)


Hey Lee,
You know ... I don't know either. I imagine it was Dean who helped me make connection to your work at some point, but can't put my finger on it.

Still hoping to meet you one of these days!


I'm highly insulted that I'm not on this list. And if you believe that, then I'm going to ask the aliens that abducted you to kindly return the Lee I know and love :)

But in all seriousness, I can't for the life of me figure out when we first met! I'm thinking it was either a DEN event or at FETC, but can't think of the details. Can you?


OMG Steve! I knew I'd leave someone out! But YOU??? Shame on me! I DO remember! It was a DEN event and the theme was baseball. You presented. I think you were still a kdg teacher or at least brand new to the DEN. Was it in Orlando? Karen Seddon was there.


The first time I met Lee was at ISTE 2010 in Denver. It was really way too brief to be considered an official meeting though. I have since missed two opportunities to meet you "for real" Lee! We were in Seattle this past summer at the same time but we were there for different things. Then I missed another chance to hang out with you and many other great folks last month in D.C. because I was invited by Microsoft to judge alongside you at the global Partners in Learning competition but I couldn't attend due to previous commitments. I look forward to getting to meet you. :)


Hey Scott,
I do remember meeting you at The Sidwell School. You were very friendly. But I still think we had some online interaction prior. Can't remember.

I'm sure it was Dean that created our connection and I'm happy for that.

I'm thankful for both of you!


Carol Anne McGuire! She and I taught at the same school years ago. She was the VI teacher. My goodness, is she ever innovative and creative. I was a new teacher at the time and in awe of her talents. I recently saw her keynote at the CUE Conference in Palm Springs.

Great educator AND singer!


I'm sorry our paths keeping missing each other. Whatever your other plans were for DC, you should have changed them. :) Next time.... do it. I hope I'm there with you.


Lee, how about this one? I think you were the first person I really connected with on Twitter -- I mean back and forth @ messages and even a few DMs. We've never met in person, though.

You were kind to me, when I asked about professional development opportunities and other education topics. Because of those Tweets, I even used one of your videos on my site, I was hoping we'd meet at ISTE last summer, but you couldn't make it.

Back in my early Twitter days, I followed you and a handful of others on your list and had a few dozen followers of my own. I've now spent time with and befriended Angela Maiers and met Alec Couros and Dean (at ISTE and only briefly, so I doubt they remember).

Today, I follow hundreds of great educators, have over 1,500 followers and even teach an online course about using Twitter to improve education.

I owe a lot of this to you. Thanks to you and to Dean for this walk down memory lane.


And now you've sparked an idea for me I'll likely blog about. When it comes to our face to face connections are relatively easy to trace origins. I think it's important or at least interesting to retrace our steps occasionally and ask, "how do I know that person?" Not only does it refresh and renew our ties, but I also think its useful as we help others see value in these connections.

For me, it's usually one of three things that initiate these connections.

1. I read something that resonated. Something that made me think "this is someone I can learn from". Sometimes it's a like minded idea and sometimes it's something I hadn't considered and even something that makes me mad.

2. Common interest. Share an interest in sports or hobby

3. Someone who makes me laugh.

Not much different than other connections and relationships. But somehow exploring the way these evolve online is a little different.

I was trying to think about a post you wrote that stuck with me. I think it was a link to the Palm Beach Cafe that I first encountered you. I remember thinking what a great job you did and what a great concept that was.

Thanks for writing about this. I think it's good thing to do.


What a fun post! I remember meeting you for the first time and thinking, "She's really cool!!!" And I STILL think that! I love that you did this! Big hugs from California! :)


Hmmm, have we met.....I am unsure....but it feels as if we have??
But now I am second guessing myself.

If yes, then where?? Perhaps Educon 2008 or NECC 2005, 06, 07??

Smiles, I wish I could pin-point the moment....if we have.....

And now I feel silly!


Had to be NECC 2008:

Though in this next shot, I'm zoomed in closer:

Indicating that perhaps we'd met before that?

I definitely remember us talking about Voicethread in San Antonio, though!

Great post!



I was a total Newbie at NECC in 2008. I was only following the blogs of a few people at that time and you were one of them. I was so intimidated when someone pointed you out and said, "That is THE Lee Kolbert!" The next spring I was totally blown away when you helped connect Ben and Steve of VoiceThread to the ISTE Newbie Project. I will forever be grateful for that.

I met you for the first time in person at Edubloggercon in 2009. You invited Richard Byrne and I to have dinner with you, Collette, Wes, and Ben. I felt like I got to know you that evening. Thank you for including me that night.


I think it was last month in DC in the elevator at Partners in Learning. Had we met before that?


Lee...I knew you were a friend before you were a friend! I’m sure you know what I mean. The first time we met was at a DEN event at the DENver Zoo before the start of ISTE 2010. I was sitting at a table with DENnis Grice and Cheryl Lykowski, you came up behind me, put your hands on my shoulders and said, “Has anyone seen McTeach??

Yup, you’re a riot.

The next day I sat with you, Teryl, Chad, and DENnis at the Constructivist Consortium event. Teryl took one of my favorite pictures from Denver:

I learned a lot from you that day, I don't know if you knew that.

Of course, I still think y'all just kept me around because I gave free massages.


I blogged a response.

My life has been forever changed by meeting you.


I just started reading your stuff, so you probably don't know who I am. Great blog!


I'm sorry we keep missing each other, too. That's so kind of you to say but your videos (learnitin5)have contributed to my and many others' learning so much as well. Thank you for contributing here.

@Carol Anne,
I still have that small block of wood that you signed for me at ILC. Would you believe I keep it on my nightstand?

We have not met in person but I know what you mean. We've certainly been connected for many years but I'm sure we've not met in RL YET. I look forward to that day, soon I hope.

I DO remember now. Gosh, I remember that session and now that I see those photos, I NOW know many of those faces but I surely did not know them back then. I also remember you telling me that you recognized me from my profile pic.

You are right that we only met in RL for a few seconds and it was last month, but we've connected online before and many times. This post is asking that question, "How/When did we first connect?" I know we did a live podcast together with Lorna about a year or so ago, but I'm sure there were other times.

Yup, it's all about the massages. ;) You, my dear, have come a long way, Baby!

You're too funny! THE Beth Still is on a life-size ISTE poster and in all the ISTE publications and SHE is intimidated by WHO? LOL


Fascinating always get me thinking, Lee. I remember hearing about you from DEN folks back in 2008. I think that's when I first started following you on Twitter and learning from you. I continued to "stalk" you as I contemplated my use of twitter in Ed, but it is partly because of you that I finally made the leap and started sharing more openly. It was either DENSI 2010 or back in March at your tech conference that we had our first face to face.


Lee- what a great idea and fantastic reminder of how truly blessed we are to have this technology that allows these friendships to grow. You all have been a part of my learning and life for so long, gotta think about the first times....should be fun! Post to come! :-)


Lee, I really have a hard time remembering when we first met, because you seemed to be a sister from another mother for years and years. As I did the first FETC podcasts (Conference Connections) 2006, 2007, then 2008, 2009 - I have been in awe from beginning at how you share and include others.

You are a powerhouse at many levels... so my first memory of when you recognized me in person was as I left one of the hospitality/workshop suites (may have been Discovery) and you hollered at me from 100 feet away "Shupester!". That made me feel really good because I never would have guessed you really knew me - I am always scanning for your posts and blog entries, because you have such keen balance of professional and personal connections in what you do and communicate!


I'm pretty sure our first in person meeting was at this summer's Innovative Educator Forum. We may have crossed paths at one or another ISTE (it seems unlikely we didn't) but if so it was far too fleeting.


It's hard to remember a time when I was involved with Discovery and you weren't also a part. Thanks for your kind words. I'm so glad we're in this together, now.

I remember meeting you at FETC a few years ago. You were doing a podcast with ... was it Phillip Cousteau? But I knew you before that from our interactions online. That's what I can't put my finger on. Thanks for saying all that stuff, but I'm in awe of YOU and your talent!

I thought we might have met at a previous ISTE, no?

Thanks to everyone for humoring me with this awesome walk down Memory Lane. It really does make you stop and think about the REAL relationships that can be built online. We are the people who "get it" and every day, more and more people are starting to "get it" too.


I meant to reply to this ages ago... in any case, I can't believe we only met in 2009!

And I shared this on Twitter too, but thought it belonged here - look what I found earlier this week:

No wonder it feels like I must've known you longer. This community is getting to have been around for a long time. I'm not sure what that means... I think we're all making a big difference daily - and in some ways this all has become much bigger than I ever imagined, but part of me also expected more of a "movement" by now - more large scale change that is. I'll have to chew on that. In the meantime, there's no doubt the relationships are valuable. :)