It happens way too many times.
You have been on twitter for a few months — maybe more — you have been following someone on twitter — perhaps reading their books — viewing their resources — perhaps ever being “followed” by that person….
and then you get to a major conference — expecting them to greet you with open arms – and instead, you get dismissed — perhaps with a look, perhaps with a quick hello and they turn to someone else, perhaps you even don’t even get that far….because you are too afraid to approach them.
So — if you are honest to admit it — you get a bit bummed….and you write that person off as a “jerk” “ego” etc…..and that becomes your perception.
And if you are vocal — as many of us are – you might pass that perception onto others.
and then — you find out you were wrong.
I will admit that.
Yes, there are some VERY big egos in my PLN but on the other hand, there are a few people I might have judged a bit too quickly — and have harbored a wrong perception.
It is true, first impressions are VERY important….but I think taking a second chance to connect just might be the most gracious offering our community could be willing to extend.
Case in point — recently — I had to eat humble pie and admit someone I had judged as being standoffish and rude — turned out to be just a great person all around. Hospitable, kind, and very obliging. I am glad I got the 2nd chance — because my perception needed some adjustment.
So, if you have perhaps labeled someone as “unkind” — I ask that you consider —
First of all — look at the surroundings — are they on their way to present, are they surrounded by many and need an escape, is it the beginning of the day (not a morning person) or end of the day (exhaustion). I dismissed someone once because I was on “forward drive” — It was the hallways of a past ISTE and I heard a “hello Jennifer” and I threw an over the shoulder “HEY” as I continued down the hallway, hurrying to get to an event, and then realized I had just totally dismissed Karen Lirenman — who was one person I had wanted to meet so very much. I have since apologized, and she has since forgiven — but boy, I wish I could have a do-over
Secondly — look at your approach — You are finally meeting the ONE person you have waited to meet — and WOW, we gush, and the person on the other hand, might feel the need to retreat just a bit. Smiles, I will admit, when I met Wes Fryer, I kind of exploded…and wish I could have a do-over.
Thirdly — what are your expectations? You might feel a connection on twitter — a close connection…..but that just may not be the true circumstance. And think through your circumstance — why should they recognize you — what is your twitter name (is it you), what is your twitter picture (is it you). Stop and lower your expectations just a bit. Don’t expect a kindred spirit moment (however, it has been known to happen — so if it does – WOO HOO!)
Fourth — Retreat, re-evaluation, review, and retry. Many many many in our network are introverts. You might scoff, but it is true. It is easy to be vocal with fingers on twitter, abundant with sharing on websites, prolific on blog posts or podcasts – and terrified at F2F conversations. So, look for another chance to connect, maybe at another location.
Fifth — What have you done to start a conversation? Are you waiting to be approached, noticed, included? If you are waiting for a hand to be extended — take the initiative and extend the hand.
and — to be honest —
Finally — sometimes, you are disappointed.
But to be honest — most and many of your network you meet are gracious, kind, helpful, and “WYSIWYG” whether you meet them online or F2F. We have some of the most wonderful educators you will ever be blessed to meet. And you are one of the most wonderful educators others will meet as well.
Just be cautious and not too quickly decide on your final perception, if it doesn’t turn out as you had hoped.
Just my thoughts today