In case you somehow missed it, I LOVE ed-tech conferences. I'm a self-admitted conference junkie. Today was the first day of TCEA 2013 at the Austin Convention Center. Excusing the fact that I had to be there for an 8:00 AM three hour workshop (forced grin), the day was a total joy. After the workshop (which went beautifully by the way), I wandered over to the Digital Square that was still being set up. A small handful of people had gathered as the workers continued about their business. If you haven't been, check out some of the new furniture over there. Power and USB built in.
As the day tarried and friends came and left as their schedules allowed, I looked up at one point in total awe about the people I have the privilege to call friends. Around me at that moment were Scott Floyd (@woscholar) who I first met in an online Tec-Sig meeting; Lisa Johnson (@TechChef4U) who I met on Twitter; Jon Samuelson (@ipadsammy) who I met on Twitter; Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) who I very first met on Twitter; Randy Rogers (@rrodgers) who I met on Twitter; Greg Garner (@classroom_tech) who I met on Twitter (though I think he may be too young to have an account). All of these AMAZING colleagues and friends, I MET ON TWITTER!
I easily remember where I met them; I couldn't even begin to number the things I have learned from them. Through the use of Twitter, I have met people who have changed my life dramatically. I feel connected in the crazy chaotic world in which we live and work. This one tool has engaged me and "grown" me in a way no Masters course could. I laugh at my Twitter stream in pure delight when I realize this one tool has provided me opportunities to talk privately and personally with amazing leaders in my field.... Beth Still (@BethStill), Jen Wager (@JenWager), Will Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain), Steve Dembo (@Teach42), Dean Shareski (@shareski) and SO VERY MANY MORE! Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of seeing friends I haven't spent time with in a while (@PaulrWood) and finally meeting people (@dlaufenberg) I have only known through (wait for it)... Twitter! They have encouraged me when I was down. They have shared countless ideas and inspirational tweets, projects, and blogs. For every single person mentioned above, my success by many accounts pales in comparison to their careers and accomplishments. I may not have as many years experience. I certainly don't have as many followers or tweets or airline miles. Still, they took me in. They raised me up. They are my PLN.
At this point, it is hard for me to remember my career before Twitter. I can tell you I have grown more in the 2.5 half years I have been "on" Twitter than the 8 years I spent obtaining an undergraduate or graduate degree. I can also tell you, if you aren't on Twitter, you may want to join!