Interesting how when I look back to 2007, I know that it was so pivotal for so many of us who are in Ed-Tech. The blogger’s cafe at NECC in Atlanta — was HUGE.
For many many many of us — it was first times of F2F — yet, we knew each other. There were screams of excitement, silent hugs of appreciation, hand shakes of admiration…..on both sides. You could not wait to meet someone…..yet people wanted to meet you as well.
I don’t really remember HOW we knew each other so well — because for so many…..NECC 2007 is where Twitter began. Thanks to John Pederson……so many people entered the twitterspehere and our sporadic conversations became daily, hourly, minute by minute. I can close my eyes and place myself at the table in blogger’s cafe…….I can almost picture every single person at that table as we learned together. I can still hear the gasp when someone’s laptop fell off the table. I can still see Mark Wagner dashing up to meet Ryan Bretag. I can still see that silly Best Buy bag. We were the last to leave the conference each day — the first to show up. There was an excitement of sharing that was electric!
Since we were all “kinda at the start together” — I mean, sure there were the David Warlicks, Gail Lovely, Tammy Worchesters, Tony Brewers, Kathy Schrocks, etc — who were 10 years plus ahead of us…..our little islands of creative opportunities kinda merged into one larger island.
Friendships were created…..because we were all “newbies”. Optimistic newbies, Vocal newbies, Creative newbies, but still — pretty much new to all this and trying to make sense of it all — and we began making sense together.
From NECC — for many of us — we journeyed to Educon that January and further cemented “our tribe”. We took what was strong and made it even stronger. We got to know each other via twitter, blog, podcasts — but then we got to know each other F2F and realized (for the most part) we still liked each other.
For me — NECC and EDUCON are a huge HUGE foundation for where I am in EdTech. We were a strong team, a mighty team — we did not always agree everything but we agreed on much.
But our tribe seems to have dispersed…..
Don’t get me wrong — we meet, we converse, we share, we listen ….. and yet……things are different. And that is not entirely a bad thing…..to be honest, its life. But, why?
I caught a tweet feed by Ben Wilkoff which seems me to feel that I am not the only one that feels there is a difference.
Was it the honeymoon phase……where everything is perfect, everything is optimistic, everything is new and exciting?
We were all so eager to try everything and anything…..it was exhausting sometimes to keep up. It was not the fear of missing out….it was the joy of something new. Everyone was everyone’s cheerleader! When someone spoke at a conference — at least 8 of his “friends” would be in attendance. If someone posted a blog link — at least 8 of his “friends” would visit it almost immediately. If someone shared a profound thought — at least 8 of “his” friends would retweet or replurk or refacebook or mention it in a podcast!
If I needed help in anyway — I knew with out a doubt — someone out there cared and would respond. EduTechionally — I was in a safe place with my “friends”.
And I wonder …..
#1 — is it because we are more departmentalized? So many people who were “there” at the beginning now have their own companies. Woo Hoo and congratulations….I am so proud of you. But that does change your viewpoint….sometimes limits your opportunities……and can be your selling point. Are we so busy with what we began so many years ago?
#2 — is it because keeping up is work? Our conversations — at the beginning were small in people. The first educon, I think was 150 people…….that’s small. Most people had “maybe” 200 followers on twitter. Having conversations….good conversations……small conversations…..was easier that it seems to be now.
#3 — too many alpha dogs? looking honestly at my network — so many are now viewed as EXPERTS in their fields. (I do have great friends) 🙂 The newbie status has gone poof.
#4 — things change — yep….so very true. Our network has gone through a lot…. a few marriages, lots of new babies, death, health issues, divorce, empty nests, continuing education, writing books, building businesses……. its exhausting. When your so busy with so much….things get dropped.
#5 — have our interests changed? some have left education, some have shifted what’s on their bulls-eye, some have become all google, all mac, all whatever, what we thought was #1 might not be anymore.
#6 — do I expect too much? Probably. Yet, to be honest….I know I have distanced myself as well. Mostly due to #4 — life in general.
But — also to be honest — I sometimes truly miss the “good old days” when we were newbies. I would go back in a moment to that table at Blogger’s Cafe — when things were so new, our optimism was so strong, when no one was the expert, yet everyone was, and everyone was learning together.
Perhaps I am just a bit nostalgic today…….