Today, in a twitter conversation with some of my network, I was marveling again at how that group has deepened my thinking and professional practice. Most of this network is comprised of people who live in other places. I don't have too many local connections in that community, unfortunately, but I touch base daily with teachers and librarians all over the world. I know very few of them in the traditional sense though.
My thinking was stretched this morning by Dr. Scott McLeod's post, and then the comments, on his Dangerously Irrelevant. Today he posed the question, what do we really know about the edublogger we're sitting next to at a conference?
My thought was, what does my network really know about me? Do I reach out and share appropriately--even with my own virtual community--a community that I have chosen? Let me say upfront that I obviously don't "produce" as much as I consume online, and in that respect, am just beginning in my journey. I'm trying to share more with my network, but constantly wonder if what I have to say is that important or interesting!
As I was thinking and reading and connecting in my nerdy middle-of-the-summer way this morning, an odd thought struck me. It has to do with a person that I consider a critical member of my PLN--a blogger, podcaster, twitterer, thinker that I have come to think of as a friend and mentor. I truly feel like I know her. I look forward to reading her thoughts on so many subjects, I love to hear what she has to share when she podcasts with others in my virtual PLN.
Now for the 2.0 part. Today she began following me on Twitter for the first time. I've "known" this person for years--had her voice in my head through my earbuds, read her words, cheered for her as she shared her victories with us all...and she doesn't really know of me at all!
It just struck me how weird it must be for her when she meets someone like me, who really already thinks of her as a friend. I wouldn't feel like I'd have to go through all the normal getting-to-know-you awkwardness if I met her at a conference. I could just pick up where her last tweet left off. Until today, she would probably be completely unaware of who I am. A very odd, one-sided thing. I guess we're all trying to feel our way through the relationships we form in virtual communities.
I'm glad she decided to follow me though. Now, if I meet her at a conference, she'll at least recognize my name, and maybe it won't be quite so....creepy and stalker-ish for her! :)
Photo from Flickr by Always Be Cool.