I planned to begin this post by talking about going to the AASL Conference and Exhibition this coming week in Hartford, Connecticut. I was going to share about “networking” with my friends and colleagues (who are frequently one and the same) and distinguishing this activity from my daily “social networking” when it occurred to me how strange the term is. All networking is social, whether we do it online or face-to-face. We seek it out because it is vital to humans since we are social beings who need contact with others.
Despite our almost constant online connections, social networking is always better face-to-face. You can see it in the way we greet each other at these conferences. Smiles are huge. We catch up quickly on what is happening in our lives –even though we have shared much of it on Facebook, Twitter (abbreviated) and social media. The fact is, online we exchange snippets rather than substance. When we meet in person, we exchange knowledge and experience, have give-and-take discussions, and easily communicate our passion and enthusiasm—without emoticons.
Because of technology—and financial constraints—many choose to attend conferences online. They learn and benefit from the sessions presented and that’s a wonderful alternative to missing the whole thing, but they don’t get the personal interactions. At every conference I have attended, and I have been going to ALA Conferences since 1979, the flow of conversation is non-stop – in chairs outside meeting rooms, on the exhibit floor and while having a meal or snack with a colleague who lives a continent away. I love the presentations, but, for me, the biggest lure of conferences is the “social networking.”
So if you are going to the AASL Conference, do come to my program “Plan for Success—Or Plan to Fail” at 8:00 am on Saturday in Room 11 and “network” with me afterwards. For those of you not attending, we will just have to meet online. I am on Twitter @hildakw, on Facebook, and on The School Librarian’s Workshop Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/57409801076 and on LinkedIn.