ISTE attendees gathered at the start of the conference (Photo by David Wees).

ISTE attendees gathered at the start of the conference (Photo by David Wees).

Live ISTE Blog – Last night I arrived in Denver, and met my roommate in the airport for ISTE 2010 for the first time.  We’d actually met and arranged to share a room together through Twitter, through the #ISTE10 channel.  It was a pretty weird experience sharing a room with what was basically a complete stranger, but it worked out well.  We get along and have similar interests in what we want to get out of the conference.  We decided that we wanted to go to the Tweet-up (a meeting between fellow Twitter users) scheduled at Marlowe’s bar and meet some fellow Twitter users (known as Tweeps).

Meeting people online is an interesting experience.  You don’t really get to know the people, largely because you miss all of that vital body language that is so important to communication.  What you get to know instead is the public persona they present online.  For some people, this persona is enough to get a good feel for what kind of person they are, for others their online persona is so bland and one-dimensional, you can tell that it doesn’t fully represent them.  It really is worth the effort to meet up in person with the people you find online, and a Tweet up is a perfect opportunity to do this.

People you meet through an online medium, whether it is Twitter or some other social networking site, are probably people you have filtered through some sort of search.  Maybe they all have a common interest, or in my case, maybe they all follow the #edchat and #iste10 channel on Twitter.  The type of person that follows this channel has a lot of commonalities with other people on this channel:  they are educators, they use technology in their education, and they are probably education reformers.

Today’s meet up was no exception, with teachers such as @kylepace, @thenerdyteacher, and @cindybuchanan present.  The organizer of the event was @geraldaungst, who is a great sport for putting together the Tweet up and communicating the details of the event to all of us who attended.

We discussed a lot of different issues, mostly things we had been bouncing around on Twitter already, but it was just great to meet them in person.  For those people who claim that the internet will replace all interpersonal relationships, they really need to experience a Tweet-up.  The internet enhances our communication, but it is not a replacement for an in person meeting.  I highly recommend experiencing your own Tweet-up or equivalent meeting of online personalities, it is totally worth it.

David Wees is a learning specialist for technology at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.