I was in a hotel room at TCEA two years ago when I participated in my first edchat. I was active for about three weeks then I stopped. It was last year during ISTE that I started tweeting again and I have been hooked since.
Twitter has enabled me to connect with an amazingly diverse group of educators. However, it was face to face conversations that have either opened doors or created paths toward life long friendships. This post is 100% about sharing my strategies for connecting. These are things that worked for me and it may or may not work for you. It is mostly serious, however there could be some humor. Take my advice at your own risk 🙂
1. Be yourself online and in person. I cringed as I listened to an educator diminish her classroom duties by claiming to be something that she wasn’t. Don’t do this. You can’t go wrong by being true to who you are, what you do and why you do it.
2. Authentically communicate your vision clearly when given the opportunity. It was probably a 7-minute conversation that got me on the radar as a possible attendee at Beyond the Textbooks. The thing is that it wasn’t planned, nor was it fake. In case you missed it, be yourself online and in person and your vision, passion and personality will shine through.
3. If Scott Floyd puts you on the spot, take the risk that you just might suck and say yes. I led a session at edubloggercon at TCEA. I’ve never done this in my life nor was I prepared. However, it was Scott Floyd…end of story. Could it have been better? Yes! Will it be next time? Absolutely! I learned that day to always be prepared for anything and I have been since.
4. It is just weird having someone randomly in your face taking pictures. Don’t do that. (Sorry Adam)
5. Be careful about putting even the most fabulous educators on pedestals of perfection. Even if twitter, blogs and maybe a TEDx talk appear to make your twitter connection walk on water, chances are that they don’t. We are all in education and one thing to remember is that education is messy. It is not perfect. Don’t be let down by this. Embrace it.
6. It’s always best to begin a first time meeting with “Hi, I’m _______, it’s so nice to meet you”. Maybe it may cause a bit of awkward silence if you immediately go into, “I follow you on twitter and I love your post and…” yeah….sorry Kyle
7. Doing a little dance is always great for breaking the ice as long as it’s not the Harlem Shake. You will regret that someday. I did Just Dance 4 at TCEA with @TechninjaTodd, @TechninjaStacey and @AKBusyBee. If there is video, I regret this now.
8. Paul Wood is the most genuine human being that I have ever met. If you meet him, please tell him that I said hello…every time! 🙂
9. When you are headed to a conference, start watching the hashtag. This will tell you who will more than likely be there as well as where the tweetups will be. Go connect.
10. When the time comes that you are out to dinner or at lunch with a group of rock star educators that you admire, be a rock star too. Engage in the conversation. Connect with actual words and leave the tweeting for later. (most important tip yet)
BONUS tip: Always respect the privacy of those that you are with. NEVER tweet out information not meant to be public. This is critical to your trustworthiness as a connected educator…