This afternoon, the steering committee for #openlearning17, a AACU Faculty Collaboratives Experience, met to discuss what has gone well with the experience thus far and what we can do to improve. Several of us mentioned how thought-provoking and mind-bending the Twitter discussions have been, but others have made a request: specifically, those who have been attending Twitter discussions regularly want a little time to get to know each other.
To that end, let’s carve out a little time.
One of the more interesting things about connecting with people in virtual spaces is the knowledge that they could be doing all sorts of physical things in all sorts of physical places while they are holding that conversation with you. While I take pride in the fact that my online personality is very much the same as my face-to-face personality (maybe a little more confident, but I’m working on that), I’ve hosted Twitter chats from airplanes, airports, the attic, a Lincoln Town Car, a hotel bar (while ducking to avoid a bar brawl), taxis, offices (mine and others), my car, on my phone, in my doctor’s office, at the Hair Cuttery, and on four different continents.
What I’ve come to appreciate over the years is that physical context matters to our online interactions, as much as anything that is going on in our head while we are chatting. And knowing the physical environment of those with whom we chat helps us get to know them. It makes them more real. It makes us more comfortable. Therefore, I propose the following:
That’s my office desk, by the way. I bring my lunch because I prefer simple lunches and don’t like to waste valuable time going out. I buy a large cup of coffee (a splash of milk) as a personal incentive to leave the seat warmer in my car every morning. I love seat warmers. I have to take off my glasses when I read because I’m months away from needing bifocals, and I’m trying to keep a dish garden alive, because one would think that an adult old enough to consider bifocals might be able to maintain a plant. Also, I am building a database and working hard to develop coding schema that make sense and are entirely sustainable (all those papers). I’ve been on the job for a month. It’s not like I’m applying any pressure on myself at all.
On Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 3:00pm EST, I will be hosting a quick little Twitter activity called Connecting Spaces. Come. Chat however feels comfortable, but it might be interesting if we share a little about our physical spaces. Where are you? Why are you there? Why or why not do you like to engage in Twitter chats in this space?
Taking a picture of your space, or better yet, a quick video would be a great way to introduce yourself.
Regardless, I hope to see you there.