This past Friday night I was very fortunate to attend the TEDxOntarioEd conference in person. It really was a fantastic evening and I was struck by how well the event was put together. The stage looked wonderful; the presenters were interesting and engaging. Most of all, the organizers were able to create the sphere of a “relaxed conversation.” People were able to mingle with each other and with the presenters during the break and after the presentations. This made everyone feel as though we were an active part of the event and not just passive recipients. When a few technology issues arose, the organizers were able to gracefully navigate their way through the brief interruption, so that the audience never felt anxious or uneasy. I really hope that the TEDxOntarioEd presentation becomes a yearly event and I would love to help in any way that I can in the future.
For me, the best part of the TEDx event was having the opportunity to meet many of the wonderful educators that I have been following online for quite some time. It felt like I already knew many people attending the event even though we have never met in person. Nearly every conversation I had started because I was able to recognize someone’s face (from a profile pic) or recognize someone’s name (from Twitter or their blog). Later in the evening I was having a conversation with Sharon Drummond, Kelly Power, Matt Walkinshaw and others, about the feeling of “knowing” people before we have ever met them. We all agreed that in our digital world, knowing people’s online-self is “The New Knowing.”
Every blog you write, every time you tweet, every comment you post, every photo you upload to Flikr -everything you do publicly online becomes a piece of your online-self. In our modern world it really is possible to “know” someone, even if they don’t know you! What makes us individuals has more to do with what we think and our experiences than it has to do with what we look like. Even though I could not identify most of the 300 people I follow on Twitter by face or name, I know who they are by what they share: I get glimpses of their thoughts and experiences, I sense their passions and frustrations, I know who they “know.”
Heading to TEDxOntarioEd (entirely on my own), I wasn’t nervous about making friends or connecting with people … I already knew that I would find people there who are like me. Best of all, I got to know people I’ve “known” for a long time – hopefully, they would say the same about me.
Photo Credit: Jame7
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What a fantastic experience Graham!!!! I didn’t see the live broadcast but I tried to downstream it the next day, and it was not working…I guess I have to wait until someone posts it on youtube…this looks like a great event.
It was fantastic meeting you in person! I’m so glad you made the drive and that you enjoyed the night!
Sounds like a wonderfully inspiring experience Graham. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to go.
[…] This was further magnified later in the evening when I was engaged in a very comfortable conversation with a colleague regarding an A&E project after the event. That’s when @grahamwhisen came up to our table and asked “Do you mind if I join you?” That comfortable conversation turned awkward for a moment. It was awkward until we filled the time with a sharing of nametags and twitter names. That turned into “Oh, I think I read your blog recently” and then all of a sudden the connections were made. We “knew” each other. This resulted in a fabulous conversation throughout the evening with @Sharon_Drummond, @Terrentius, @MattWalkinshaw as well as @grahamwhisen who decided to blog about this new phrase “The New Way of Knowing”. […]
[…] it is easier for me to feel like I have a relationship with that person (see my post on ”The New Knowing“). For me, a name and a personal photograph is an anchor that I use to link shared content […]