Let me tell you, if you ever need someone to keep a secret for you, Stacy is your girl. She is impressively covert. I expect the CIA couldn’t do much better.
I’ve said this before, but this weekend has confirmed in my mind that my PLN is full of pretty much the most amazing, selfless, generous people in the world. Someone I’ve never met let me take over her weekend, and never made me feel like I was getting in the way, even when my flight was an hour late, and my return flight this morning was far too early (especially considering how long we stayed up to talk on Saturday night!). Another two people I had never met, Melissa Edwards and Jayme Linton, accepted me on their road trip with no warning and no complaints. And I left the Bay Area after staying with Karl LS for the night, and getting a ride to CalTrain before he went to school on Friday. Oh, and he’s picking me up from the airport in a few hours.
All of those people were strangers not too long ago.
Then there’s Andrew - the reason for the trip in the first place. Now, I already knew Andrew is amazing and selfless and generous, and being around him is always a joy. I also know that the time we spend together is always far too brief. As Dave Matthews says in Two Step, that time is always “short, but sweet for certain.”
So anyway...EdCampSC. About half-way through EdCampSC, I looked down at my phone, expecting (as usual) that the battery would be running on empty by that point. But it wasn’t. That’s when I remembered: I was sitting next to the person usually responsible for running down my battery.
I also realised that with so many great people in the room, I wasn’t really tweeting much. It must be my all-time lowest tweet count for any education event ever. I sent five tweets, and three were trying to make the example Google Hangout work.
That’s not to say that I didn’t use my devices, or that using them during events distracts me from the people who are actually in the room. I am a firm believer that use of twitter and backchannel discussion can actually increase the amount of engagement and learning.
I also felt like I was far more present at EdCampSC than I probably should have been for the amount of sleep and travel that went into getting there.
For me, presence is about more than just paying attention. Presence is about losing yourself a little bit in order to become a member of a larger community. Andrew and I joke that we’re the same person, but there’s an element to which that’s true, or at least it’s true when we’re in the same room. Presence is about not being so focused on my own needs and my own learning that I tune out to the needs and feelings and learning of others around me. Usually, that’s what Twitter does. But yesterday, that happened because of the people with whom I got to be in the same room.
It’s one of the lessons I learned at FlipCon too. Even though Andrew and I do what we do from across the country and use technology to do so, there is still so much value in just being able to sit in shared space and be present. You can’t replace that with technology. You can’t replicate that with technology.
I am so grateful to all the people who made this weekend possible for me. But top of that list is Stacy - her students actually warned her that I might “Catfish her,” but she trusted that who I said I was on the internet was actually who I was in real life. And I trusted the same thing.
That’s what trusting best intentions actually means.
And obviously, I am so, so thankful that I have a collaborative partner who sees me get out of a car at a gas station (the correct one of the two identical ones at that exit) and doesn’t even need an explanation. After a hug, all he said was, “You want to ride with me?”
Yes. Yes, I do.