If you were not part of #hewebcornell (HighEdWeb Regional Conference at Cornell), you may have missed some good conversations around social media, including the .eduGuru crew’s own social media stories. But you didn’t have to miss it. The power of social media is that people from anywhere could have been following along.
Recently at another conference, I had a conversation with a faculty member who attended virtually and wondered if the tweets were more about socializing than ideas. I argued that twitter does lead to sharing ideas:
At #hewebcornell, I mentioned that I have “virtual coworkers” with whom sometimes I work more closely than my physical coworkers. If you look at my “@” replies in a tag cloud, you will find the people with whom I am collaborating on some of my biggest projects (even though the “@” replies themselves look like absolute gibberish). For example, if @robin2go and I didn’t have the dynamic we have, we wouldn’t have done “What Not to Wear on the Web: A Fashion Show”. If @dancinjul and I didn’t play tricksters via twitter across our university, we would have never pitched a traveling “conference in miniature” for our campus libraries. If it had not been for twitter and tweetmeets with @micala and @bnr1, I wouldn’t have thought to get together with them to pitch a group topic on distance communication for a learning design conference last summer.
The point I’m trying to make is this: You need to feel comfortable with each other and become virtual coworkers to pitch ideas when you do not do not have proximity going for you in a working relationship.
Sometimes you need the informal. Sometimes you need the minutiae. Sometimes you even need @fienen’s nipple to break the ice. It’s only when people bare it all that barriers are broken and people can share ideas. Sometimes you need to show me yours before I can show you mine.