It was just like the playground. You accidently bump into someone while playing kickball and a week later you say hi to them in the hallway. A month later some random circumstance places you near them and you have a conversation. You have things in common. There is a conversation and you find similarities that attract you or differences that push you away.
So it is with the web when you get a reply from a stranger on Twitter or a comment on a blog post that interests you and you also reply. You know the story. That goes on for a bit and maybe you meet the person face to face at a conference or talk with them live in a Hangout. One thing leads to another and you are sitting in the same room with them and talking.
In my case that has evolved into friendships that have benefited me and many faculty at the college I work for. I have been able to find remarkable people to share their ideas as keynote sessions at our faculty workshops and discovered events I can attend that I likely would not have found otherwise. I have even been a speaker at events I likely would not have discovered without those connections. That is how part of it has worked for me. The other part is different.
In my case the twitterverse led me to a group of educators in Phoenix who call themselves the “CyberSalon.” I watched from afar as they wrote blog posts and shared some pretty amazing things with me. I learned so much from just reading what they shared. I still do.
I was so excited by the idea of a “CyberSalon” I started one here in my hometown. You can read about that a bit here on a site we used as a presentation about the whole CyberSalon idea.
I have had a few of the CyberSaloners up to give the keynotes at our faculty conferences and I have met some really wonderful people. They are so amazing. They are creative and deeply devoted to education. And they are really interested in connecting and sharing ideas. That was the whole idea behind the CyberSalon. Share and connect.
- Here is the wonderful Donna Gaudet speaking with our faculty.
- Here is the totally amazing Alisa Cooper sharing with our faculty.
- And here is Alan Levine telling stories to our faculty.
All awesome and all in part because of twitter and the CyberSalon.
For me, I have been able to go out on bike rides with Alan Levine. Races even! It is a very serious affair. We are the Official #ds106 Athletic Club Mountain Biking Team and we take that very seriously. It has been really awesome. We ride around and sometimes talk about teaching and learning. Sometimes we talk about beer. Sometimes we talk about gardening. He is a huge inspiration and I am lucky that circumstances brought us together. The web was a part of that.
I guess that is how it is all supposed to go? We make connections. But we are responsible for seeking them out. We have to take some initiative to get out there. In a room full of people or a web full of twitter, we have to be willing to get out there and share and learn.