Maha and I met on Twitter during Connected Courses, the DML Research Hub online course on Connected Learning (it was very meta). Up to that point, I had had Twitter mentors, people I shadowed and tried to emulate, but Maha was different, more of a sympathetic equal than a mentor.
When Maha and I are on Twitter at the same time, we act like girls playing in a crowded room: although we are not always obviously together, we are always aware of each other and we weave quickly (and mostly deftly) through and around multiple public and private threads. When Maha is around, I never feel alone even if we aren’t talking directly with one another.
Most officially (and recently), Maha peer reviewed my very first peer reviewed article, published in Hybrid Pedagogy. Although there were other people in the process, with Maha in that space I knew I wasn’t alone.
Although I’ve never met Maha in person, her virtual presence directly impacts how my family experiences the world. Through a DM’ed Twitter conversation, Maha walked me and my eldest daughter (9 years old) through the lived experience of Ramadan. Maha made the desert oasis real for my youngest daughter (7 years old) by sending her tourist pamphlets via #et4online virtual buddies program. Both of my kids mention Maha frequently and ask what’s she’s doing. Maha is a virtual and yet real presence for them.
I think Maha and I will continue to be friends and keep each other company as we both run through the crowded rooms, and I hope she will continue to be a presence in my family’s life. Long live Twitter, the open web, and the friendships it brings.