This post is also at www.techlearning.com/blog
52 diners show up! No this is not a bad dream, it is a reality.
About 6 weeks ago, in the Twitterverse, many of us were setting our sights on converging in San Antonio for NECC 2008. Well, in the old days, about 365 of them ago, we probably would have sent an email to a few friends, and asked them to invite a friend and we would name a restaurant and a time. Probably by the time dinner rolled around we would have a dozen or so folks deciding upon a place to dine, all of us then would walk to the restaurant and have a fabulous time.
Fast forward to May 2008, 365 days later, and Sharon Betts asked a twitter friend to meet up with her for dinner at NECC08. All of this took place on twitter, a social network where one can leave a message with no more than 140 characters, to an individual or to the group, while singling out an individual.
Sharon made a "mistake" and messaged the crowd on twitter rather than a direct message to the friend. In a matter of 2 min. someone else responded that they too would like to meet up for dinner in San Antonio. In a matter of 20 minutes, there were over 20 people interested in meeting for dinner. The numbers swelled, and a project ensued. Sharon created a wikispace in order to collect ideas for restaurants, a meeting time, directions etc.
In the end there were over 90 people who signed up for dinner. While only 52 were able to attend, when was the last time you organized a dinner party for 52? Sharon searched and found a great spot in San Antonio, on the blue trolley line. She reserved a space for 90 of her closest friends and a time was agreed upon. Now, you may be thinking this is not so remarkable. YET!
You see, many of us in the group had only chatted by twitter, or blog comments or chats at edtechtalk.com . Many of us had never met face to face. And especially since a whole contingent of people, were traveling from Australia, the UK, all around the US and Canada, this was an event! How could you say no to this event?
Now, if you are still looking for purpose in using Twitter, think if you might use this social network tool to find information about a new Web 2.0 tool, a new book, a new idea, an old idea needing a revision, a collaborative project for your classroom. I can tell you that I rely on twitter as a comprehensive tool in my daily communication among my peers. I can rely on my twitter friends to come to my rescue when I am in need of an idea or support about something.
This is the spirit of NECC, trying something new, trying something using the new tools, sharing with others and keeping the conversation alive. Thanks to Sharon and all who participated. Not only was I able to expand my knowledge, I enjoyed meeting each and everyone of you face to face. Our collective knowledge is more dynamic than our own knowledge.