Sometimes, when I meet a PLN member from Twitter or Voxer in person, I use the line, “I’m taller online!” This is an attempt at humor and to recognize that sometimes people look different in person than their photo or online persona.
I love meeting people in person I have connected with online. This started at EdCamps here in the Twin Cities area a few years ago. At first, I was star struck when I saw a person I was following on Twitter. Will they recognize me? Am I worthy? But, every in-person meeting experience has been powerful, positive, and enlightening.
Isn’t it amazing (or strange) that you can feel closer and more connected to people you only know online than to people in your building or district?
I’ve been fortunate to meet members of my PLN in person at the 2014 and 2016 NAESP national conferences, at our MESPA Winter Institute, at EdCamps, and while traveling. I visited @Jonharper70bd (Maryland), @_AndyJacks (Virginia), and @Mr_B_Teacher (Virginia) while attending conferences in DC. I was honored to be invited to their homes to meet their family members. I connected with a fellow elementary principal in Portland, Oregon, while visiting my family last spring break. And, I have taken the opportunity to meet up with fellow Minnesotans like @GustafsonBrad, @focus2achieve, and @JeffVizenor1 to learn from them and extend our connection. I even got to meet @benjamingilpin and @TechNinjaTodd at Brad Gustafson’s doctoral graduation celebration.
I’d love to take a sabbatical to visit members of my PLN around the country, tour their schools, learn from them in person, and document my journey. I haven’t figured out a way to do that yet but maybe I can accomplish that when I retire.
You should find opportunities to meet members of your PLN in person and, I guarantee, it will take your connection to a whole new level.
Oh, and if you meet me in person, I’m 5’7″ in height, but I’m taller online!