A picture worth a thousand conversations

An email from ISTE14 came the other day and featured a picture of hundreds of people gathered in small groups enthusiastically in discussion. As I looked at the groups trying to see if I recognized anyone, I couldn't help but wonder which discussion I might want to join. The problem was that there would be no way to know what each discussion was about unless I walked up and stood within earshot, trying to be noticed without interrupting. Such an awkward situation. Just thinking about it takes me back to middle school mixers. 

If only there was a way to listen in to each group and then decide which one (or more) to join. On Twitter, there is.

This is one of the big differences between traditional and social media professional development. On Twitter, through weekly chats, online conferences, hashtags, and typical activities, I can pick and choose to lurk in on any or all of those conversations and then decide which, if any, to participate in. Real-time or on my time with a group of people I have "invited" in one large enthusiastic room and it's their words and ideas that bring draw me to the group. 

Looking at that room full of people it made me realize how powerful this tool has become for me.

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