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Living in the Backchannel: In Real Life

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Living in the backchannel has led us down a path of what it is like to connect with people before you leave for a conference, how the knowledge sharing in the backchannel could become overwhelming and fulfilling, and how contributing to the backchannel led to a more focused approach to note taking during sessions. Now, in the finale of the series, I will share with you what happens when the backchannel becomes a reality channel.

It started with the keynote speech during lunch which featured not only a panel including Dr. Susan Komives but a table including Chris Conzen (@clconzen), Becca Obergefell (@OberBecca), Fred Kuo (@FredjKuo), and Robyn Kaplan (@Rkaplan13). Immediately the smart devices came out and the others at our table were curious about what we were doing. They listened to our explanation of Twitter, how we used it, and how it was a resource. By the end of the keynote, they had signed up and started tweeting but the best was yet to come…

With the keynote coming to a close, the moderator offered up a Q &A session for the audience. This meant the opportunity to ask Dr. Komives a question and get the answer straight from her, IN REAL LIFE! I was overwhelmed, I had no questions. So I did what any Twitter savvy person might do…I went to the backchannel and the backchannel didn’t disappoint.

I stood up and addressed Dr. Komives, “Hi, this question is for Dr. Komives coming to you via Twitter actually from Cindy Kane at Bridgewater State….”  Snickering, she answered the question, commenting that she knew Cindy and that she didn’t know how to use Twitter but perhaps she would learn. I immediately offered to teach her if she’d like which was greeted with some subtle laughter from the audience. Nonetheless, it had happened, Twitter was brought to the forefront and people were now aware of the power behind it – the backchannel was in real life. (Social media side note: Dr. Komives mentioned that she knew Cindy because they are Facebook friends.) Still, the best was yet to come…

Throughout day 2 of the conference a tweetup was being planned and organized throughout sessions and the lunch, this would be the backchannel in real life to the nth degree. After sessions, a select group of professionals milled about the second floor lobby trying to match faces to Twitter profile pictures. At first it was like a massive blind date; you had known this person via Twitter, conversed with them via Twitter, now it was time to get together and talk. After a few familiar faces popped up and a few tweets searching for people as they stood on opposite sides of the lobby were sent – the tweetup was underway. For almost 45 minutes, opinions, knowledge, wisdom, ideas, thoughts, stories, tweets, and a few “who should I follow?” answers traveled within the amoeba shaped ring of professionals. This was the power of Twitter. It had brought conference attendees whose only contact with each other (for the most part) had been electronic communication (some of whom only knew of each other for a matter of hours!) together. This was one of the most unique experiences LEI 2010 offered yet it wasn’t on the schedule, it was purely attendee driven, and it was organized via Twitter. It had empowered new professionals, re-energized seasoned professionals, and inspired all to utilize the backchannel in the future.

As I am out of words for this post, I will leave you with an image courtesy of Mike Severy (@MikeSevery), showing upwards of over a dozen professionals networking and discussing leadership topics in more than 140 characters and in real life at the tweetup. The backchannel had become a reality channel.

 

Joe Ginese (@JoeGinese) is the Director of Student Activities and Orientation at Nichols College in Dudley, MA.

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Living in the Backchannel: Out of Focus

January 18, 2011 1 comment

In case you missed the first two parts of this short series, you can check them out here: Living in the Backchannel: Pre-conference and Day 1, Living in the Backchannel: Day 2 of LEI 2010.

You’ve read about the pre-conference, the connections, the excitement and the engagement of #LEI10. Up until halfway through Day 2 of the conference I was connected non-stop, tweeting, reading, referencing, bookmarking, then…this happened:

That dreaded, inconvenient, hopeless icon flashed on my phone as I was about to go into an afternoon session. What did this mean, what was I to do? There was no salvation, there was no solution. I would have to go through a session without having Twitter there with me as a colleague. I would be disconnected for 75 minutes until @OberBecca rescued me in the following session with a spare charger.

This series has focused largely on using Twitter throughout the conference so why am I taking the time to talk about a time where Twitter was nowhere to be found? Because the moment I put my phone, darkened and dead, back in my pocket this is what I felt like:

Taken at the LEI Welcome Keynote

I felt as discombobulated as the new chick coming out of the egg. I paid attention to the speakers, feverishly taking notes to share later, but something was missing. When Twitter was in my hands it was not distracting but without Twitter, I felt like an artist who had all of their supplies but no canvas. All these ideas, thoughts, resources, questions, answers all in front of me…on a piece of paper written in pen. If I am the artist, I just drew a masterpiece in the sand only to have the tide sweep it away.  The notes on the paper wouldn’t be real-time if I transposed them later. I couldn’t get responses on the spot or questions to ask right then and there from other colleagues.

I look back at my notes from that session and you would think that I was writing in my opposite hand. Twitter not only served as my public notebook but when I did use a pen and paper in the sessions I also had Twitter; my notes were neat, legible, organized. Without Twitter my notebook had turned into a dry-erase board at a brainstorming session. Scribbles, shapes, lines, words all over. See for yourself: (Without Twitter on the left and with Twitter on the right)

It turns out that my phone being low on battery would in turn mean I would be low on focus. Twitter had empowered me to catch key phrases and questions from the session to intrigue and share with my followers, something a pen and paper had yet to accomplish. It was as if I had to relearn how to take notes. With Twitter, I was listening and contributing. Learning and sharing. It was a two-way street. Without Twitter, I was a sponge soaking up the information without any release or output.

After this experience, I learned two things: 1) always travel with a spare charger on your person, 2) after writing tweeting with my thumbs for over 24 hours just holding a pen to a piece of paper was a foreign feeling.

My fourth and final post will explain what Twitter “in real life” transformed into and how 140-characters and engaged followers led me to an encounter I’ll never forget.

Facebook + IPO = No more Facebook for me.

January 10, 2011 2 comments

This is more or less a little brainstorm on how I would plan to detach myself from the monster that is Facebook.

Quick and easy steps:

Give 30 days notice via status that you are deleting your account.

Then give 15 days notice.

Then give 10 days.

Then 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then have a party on the last day. Perhaps an independence day of sorts? Maybe a birthday? Abolish Facebook Day!

But how do you replace the stalking and all that is what Facebook is all about? Keeps tabs on people without having to talk or write to them?

Talk about a test of friendship/connection/acquaintance – will those who take the seconds it takes to say Happy Birthday on your wall do so via e-mail, tweet, or text without Facebook reminding them? Probably not. Facebook makes it convenient to be a friend – there really is no effort, a couple clicks here or there and you look like the most attentive and caring person.

But when the profile is gone, how do you replace that connection?

My rough plan would be as follows:

Replace Facebook Photos with flickr, webshots, picasa – you can take your of the options you have to share photos, there are plenty more than just these three.

How will people know what I am doing? Facebook Status updates = Twitter.

Facebook Personal Status updates about major life events! – See Twitter + WordPress, Blogger, etc.

What about my favorite books, movies, tv shows, interests? – See your own webpage/blog.

What about those who I want to show where I’ve worked, went to school, etc? – LinkedIn

How do I centralize all of this information in a nice package people having to click all over the place? – See about.me

So you are seriously thinking of getting rid of Facebook?

No, not necessarily. What I am saying is that I plan to the amount of information I have on Facebook to not only open it up to more people but to also increase my web presence, furnish my digital identity, and solidify my “Google Resume” by the end of this year.

There is no need for Facebook to have a strangle hold on everything social on the internet. I’m willing to prove that while I won’t be on Facebook as prominently, more people will get to know who I am because not only will they find it, they will find it in separate packages that are easily to read, easier to navigate, and more appealing overall.

In my opinion, Facebook gives you too many distractions, to go from pictures to chat to profile info, etc. If you are on a photo sharing site, then you are only look at photos which (I think) will mean less distractions, more focus. Breaking up the services of my Facebook profile stirs an image of when AT&T was ordered to break up resulting in 7 “Baby Bell” companies.

If Facebook goes public and some company can invest thus being able to look at their assets (see all profile information) you can bet my Facebook profile will be a profile picture, a relationship status, and nothing but a list of links to explore who I am.

That’s my idea for the day and it will definitely happen,

Joe

Categories: Ideas, Personal Tags: , ,

New Year Resolutions

January 6, 2011 1 comment

So the new year is here and I have made some lofty expectations for myself for 2011 on the basis that this is a whole new DECADE not just a year.

That being said, here is the list for 2011:

– Blog post a week
– Final blog visitor total for 2011 – 5,000+ (approx 2100 in 2010)
Twitter Followership – 1K  Completed sometime in August
– Read a book a week
(1/2 – 1/8) – Smashed by Koren Zailckas
(1/9 – 1/15) – Judaism by Charles Foster Kent and Gustav Karpeles
(1/16 – 1-22) – Drive by Daniel Pink
(1/23 – 1-29) – Open Leadership: How Social Technology can transform the way you lead by Charlene Li
(1/30 – 2/5) – After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival by Robin Gaby Fisher
B
ook 6: Poke the Box by Seth Godin 
Book 7: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Book 8: Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work
Book 9: Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
Book 10: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
Book 11: Soup: A recipe to nourish your team and culture by Jon Gordon
Book 12: Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and off the court by John Wooden
 Book 13: The Orange Revolution by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
Book 14: Laughing and Learning: An alternative to shut up and listen by Peter M Jonas
Book 15: Moneyball by Michael Lewis 
Book 16: Leader’s Legacy by Kouzes & Posner
Book 17: DIY U 
by Anya Kamenetz
Book 18: Leading with the Heart by Mike Krzyzewski
– Travel at least twice with my girlfriend outside of New England and have it NOT be higher education related.
– Get published in a journal (online or press)
– Create a YouTube Channel – Done 1/14/2011 www.youtube.com/JoeGinese
– Redesign this blog and purchase domain for it
– Pay off final credit card debt from previous engagement  Done 5/29/2011
– Start a new credit card debt from a new engagement
– Start level 1 of Rosetta Stone Hebrew*sort of hangs on the previous goal
– Start Judiasm conversion process*see above
– Reach 100K miles in my car (low hanging fruit, I’m already at 94K!) –Complete 3/4/2011
– Make it to level 3 of Rosetta Stone Italian
– Learn/teach 10 new recipes with girlfriend from her new cookbook
– Get to level 50 in Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer (Nerd alert) Complete 3/3/2011
– Complete Burn with Kearns 5 DVD training set
– Lose 10-15 lbs
– Participate and finish 1/2 marathon – Done 6/5/2011
– Participate and finish the WarriorDash  Done 8/14/2011

That’s pretty comprehensive so I think I’ll stop there. I post this not as a way to brag or a way to meaninglessly post content today. I post this to not only hold myself accountable to this but I also hope to blog about each one as I accomplish it. This strategy should spur some interesting posts, thoughts, opinions, and actions for both myself and the few of you that read this.

Perhaps this post is an online post-it for myself and really does not contribute to YOU (the reader) but perhaps one of my goals inspires you.

Perhaps this post will leave you to hold me accountable when you see I haven’t posted anything about any of my goals.

Perhaps this post will simply leave you wondering, “What the hell is a WarriorDash and why would anyone do that?!”

In any of those cases, thanks for reading and I hope it leads to an entertaining, enlightening, and inspiring 2011 for you, me, and those around us.

Take care – rock on – go and set 2011 aflame.

-jg

Categories: Personal Tags:

2010 in review

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 62 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 18 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 28th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was Swipe, scan, satisfaction!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, hootsuite.com, thesabloggers.org, and thebarrenschat.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for hi my name is, billboard, billboards, great billboards, and best billboards.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Swipe, scan, satisfaction! May 2010
1 comment

2

About Me February 2010
1 comment

3

Conference + Hashtag + Twitter = Backchannel Attendees June 2010
7 comments

4

Hi! My Name Is… May 2010

5

The Curious Commuter talks Higher Ed – Digital Dissertation June 2010
9 comments

Categories: Ideas Tags: ,

Living in the Backchannel: Day 2 of LEI 2010

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

In case you missed part one of this short series, you can check it out here: Living in the Backchannel: Pre-conference and Day 1.

Day 1: 152 total #LEI10 tweets.
Day 2: 422 total #LEI10 tweets.

With a difference of 270 tweets between the two days, an argument could be made two ways; 1) more people started tweeting (true) or 2) those who were already tweeting, tweeted even more (also true). It was a combination of both of these scenarios that led to the explosion of the Twitter activity on the second day of the Leadership Educators Institute (LEI) 2010. I left the first post of this of this series with a few cliffhangers of the explosion of the backchannel, what happened when my phone ran out of battery, and an epic tweet-up. Allow me first to paint the picture of what happens when a backchannel explodes with a metaphor of sorts.

Imagine you have an idea, that idea is akin to a 40-watt bulb. It lights up your desk, and perhaps your office. Others locally recognize the work you are doing and often will sit by your desk to grab some of the light from your 40-watt idea. There are literally thousands of these 40-watt ideas in higher education let alone floating around a leadership conference.  Now you might get a glimpse of what it was like to be a contributing participant of LEI – a place where my 40-watt idea joined other 15-, 25-, 50-, and 100- watt ideas and together they lit up the University of South Florida Student Union. Here these ideas led to sharing,  contributing, and brightening the light from one another to enhance, challenge, and redistribute the glow to others.

This is fantastic! However, in this scenario, only those in the room can see the light and benefit from it. This is hardly a light that you can bottle up and bring home with you. (I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t get by customs if you tried.)

But what has 2010 brought to LEI? Twitter! Twitter blew the roof off of the USF Student Union and concentrated the light of from the ideas into a beam in the sky like the Bat-signal! Only instead of Batman’s trademark symbol it was “#LEI10” that served as a beacon to follow towards resources and dialogue about leadership practices.

Now practitioners from all over could look to the sky, err Twitter, and see these illuminating ideas. No longer was the light only cast on those in the room, it was cast to the world! Or well, those paying attention to their Twitter feeds but I digress…back to the point.

The backchannel had exploded and while over 400 tweets occurred on the second day of the conference, so many more were watching. I know this because during a session where we were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves, I was greeted by unmet colleagues who responded with, “So it’s you who has been tweeting all this time.” A combination of embarrassment and achievement rose within me as my cheeks flushed. The point wasn’t that they knew who I was or recognized my name which doubles as my Twitter handle, the point was and still is as @CindyKane has so eloquently put it, they were lurking and they were learning. Perhaps at their next conference they will take the jump and contribute to the conversation.

In my next post I will illustrate how my connection to Twitter was suspended for one session due to a dead phone battery shifted the way I now think about my conference experience. Stay tuned!