NECC 2009 – Who wins?

Okay, let’s think about this for next year…

Famous Blogger wants to spend time at NECC conversing with / learning from friends (who might also happen to be other Famous Bloggers). Not Yet Famous Blogger and Loyal Reader would like to spend time conversing with / learning from Famous Blogger.

Who wins? Does FB have any obligation to NYFB and LR?

31 Responses to “NECC 2009 – Who wins?”

  1. Can’t both win? Isn’t that the power of the network? Why not introduce the NYFB and LR to the friend/FB. Inclusive rather than exclusive.

  2. Scott,

    that’s an interesting point but my gut tells me that if you try to think and/or plan based on that premise, it may become contrived and self-defeating. I still think it should flow and evolve organically and not by force feeding it. The FB’s shouldn’t feel compelled to just hang around to give face time to others..unless they really WANT to. We’re all here to learn and in our own ways. Would I like to have more discussions with the powers that be? Sure I would. But only if that mutual interest is there to converse.

  3. Scott —
    I think so………

    It has been argued to me that the “FB” only gets to see the other “FB” at conferences and it is a catchup time. However, with skype, twitter, email, etc — that can’t totally be a true argument anymore, can it??

    I know that FB’s do need the down time, the recoup time, and the friendship time too…..but hopefully not at the exclusion of the NYFB and LR.

    Personally, and I know I will get flack for this, I would hope that the FB would use the hours (like 8 – 3) to be meet new people time, mingle, etc….. and then use the time in the evenings for the socializing with other FB’s and also including the new friends. Of course, the FB’s can mingle with other FB’s during the daytime, but just be a bit more aware of the NYFB and LR.

    Then everyone wins.

    However, the bottom line does become – conversations will happen and they cannot be forced upon anyone.

    I have found many FB’s to be quite accommodating, friendly, and helpful….and I look forward to seeing more LR and NYFB’s become FB’s and do the same.

    Thanks for this thought this morning. I look forward to reading other comments.


    PS — I did have a giggle writing this using your abbreviations!! 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Why on earth does Famous Blogger think Famous Blogger has nothing to learn from Not Yet Famous Blogger and Loyal Reader? Famous Blogger sounds quite arrogant.

  5. As a NYFB my instinct is to say – of course, but I do see and understand the opposite argument. I am not – nor have I ever been (hopefully this will change next year)- to NECC. I have been following along through ustream and live blogging to some of what’s going on. Perhaps there can be a balance – through blogger’s cafe or some other gathering – to expose and include the NYFB into the conversation. After all, shouldn’t our goal be to expand the ranks of the FBs?

  6. Does the FB earn his/her living by being a FB or the related publicity from being a FB? Then they certainly do have an obligation. The FB would cease to be a FB if not for the LRs and NYFBs. If the FB wants to continue being a FB, he/she should consider conferences part of the gig and do the face time necessary to cultivate his LRs.

    If the FB wants to be left alone, they should go to their hotel room and close the door. A couple of conferences of that and there will be fewer and fewer LRs.

    If the FB wants to be with other FBs, they should get in touch with them and arrange meetings that do not happen on the floor of the conference. Especially in the evening. Not rocket surgery.

    If the FB is annoyed by NYFBs at a conference, they should stop coming to conferences, and probably start looking for a non FB career.

  7. As a DRCTBFB (Don’t Really Care To Be Famous Blogger)I had a great conversation with several folks in the Blogger’s Cafe. Then someone asked me, “Hey, what were you talking to FB about?” I didn’t even know I was talking to FB. I was just having a paradigm shifting conversation with another conference attendee who shared an interesting perspective on a common idea thread. Of course, the fact that I was totally oblivious to the existence of any social structure establishment doesn’t really surprise me – it wasn’t until my high school reunion that I realized that I was considered to be a member of the “in crowd” 10 years before . . . who knew? 🙂

  8. Personally I think the entire premise of predetermining how folks spend their conversational time is laughable. The only thing that makes is worse is the OMG! culture of trying to be BFFs with FBs (oy!) just ’cause you’ve shown a little blog link love to a Twitter update of theirs last Tuesday. Add to that a proposal that anyone is obligated to talk to anyone just because they have a Technorati rating above a lonely cadaver is ludicrous. Really.

    The ONLY requirement for 2 people spending time together in F2F conversation is that they both ‘value’ the assumed synthesis/take-away’s of what will unfold. In business or any legit professional arena, this is called networking once it gets beyond the first ‘ask’ (or intro).

    What we’re talking about is the skillset of strategic professional networking, not the “please be my friend” sleepover introduction. This is old skool bizness stuff, folks. Why are we acting like giddy-shy kids sitting on the bleachers at the middle school dance crunching our toes in hopes that someone will want to slow dance with us when Air Supply starts to play? No wonder the rest of the world has a hard time taking teachers who blog about blogging, Twitter about Twittering seriously. Seriously!

    Twitter (et al) notwithstanding, the ONLY way to make an impact on someone for the first time you perceive to be a FB (or whatever silly social construct we kick around rhetorically) in a conference/professional setting is to offer them something of value that is a good use of their time/energies. Simple. Works at Rotary, in the CEO’s golf 4some, and at the SwoonOverFB Unconference 08 all the same.

    Instead of acting like a 12 year old at a Jonas Bros concert hoping to get backstage to be BFF’s, why not send out a salient message by email (you choose your medium, sportsfans) before or after the big ‘boat show’ making a specific connection that offers a relevant reason for FB (again, ridiculous) to spend time in F2F conversation. Whether one wants to talk about tools or consulting or eating pot roast nachos, it works the same. Learn to network the old fashioned way by sending a well posed introduction and making it worthwhile for the FB (oy!) to want to connect.

    This — here’s the drum roll moment — is how most FB (yikes) built their network and laptop carnival connections with other FBs…over time…through hard work…based on something that mattered to both parties…with an eye on both learning and developing as professionals in real biz arenas) even a few called ‘school’.

    This ridiculous emerging culture of “Hey, I just wanted you to know I follow you on Twitter…” or “OMG, I can’t believe that’s FB (ugh!) sitting only 3 rows in front of me. I can’t wait to meet ,him/her in person and tell them I just, OMG love his/her blog…” is beneath the entire premise of a supposed edublogosphere culture pretending to want to have an impact on kids, schools, and the larger system of education.

    This ain’t a 2-bit bubblegum pop concert down at the mall. And it ain’t a middle school sleepover wishlist.

    This is business, no matter what edu-name you give it. Act like a professional with a hint of networking savvy, and anyone will take you seriously. No matter what title (FB, NYFB, LR, FOOL, etc) we toss around.

    Beyond that, offer to buy them a drink or to cover their pot roast nachos tab.

  9. As a NYFB, I met several FB. Some were very polite, but were more interested in talking with their friends. I felt that was only fair. There were a few that took some time to talk to me and encourage me and that was awesome. I would have hated to feel like they HAD to talk to me though. I got much from those that enjoyed that and was not offended by those that attended NECC for other reasons. Most had sessions that I attended and learned from. I think that more than meets any obligation they may have. Thanks to all! I gained much and am enthusiastic about continuing my blog and getting all of my students doing the same this year!

  10. OMG! I txtd u yesterday and you never replied! Snif. Shrug. R we still friends? -syl

  11. There’s a lot more to education, and NECC, and ed tech, and professional networking, and good substantial work, than technorati rankings, the newest shiniest tool, and swimming in the social pool of “Famous” bloggers (Really? Famous Bloggers? Really?).

    After reading this post, I was torn between the desire to close the window and pretend I had never seen this, or leave a comment. If I was a wiser man, I probably would have closed the window.

    But, unfortunately, I’m not that wise. Personally, I’d love to see the educational blogosphere grow to a place where we don’t use language more akin to middle school cliques to describe our networking opportunities.

    And yes, I realize that the abbreviations/archetypes were tongue in cheek — or at least I hope they were.

  12. Yes they were, Bill. =)

  13. RE: “Yes they were, Bill. =)”

    Phew! 🙂



  14. What a joy it has been to meet folks in the Bloggers’ Cafe, walking down the hall, running into them in other sessions, standing in line buying lunch, etc.

    I’m grateful for each of the folks I’ve met, across whom I’m sitting from as I type this. I know these people more than I know the “disconnected” who roam the Conference halls…the connected are a new family, and to be honest, I feel more connected with them than the disconnected.

    Famous bloggers? Not yet famous bloggers? Naa…our friendships, our unique, passionate voices defy such labels.

    Thank you all for allowing me to meet you, to shake your hand, pose for a photo. After all, at the end of the day, your hand in mine is worth so much more than anything any of us could ever write.

    With deep appreciation,

    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the

  15. srry I blu u off ystrday. wuz w. my new bff syl u know shes a VFB 😉

  16. I posted something similar about this last night on my blog. The power of the Twitteratzi. Is that new phrase coinage?

  17. I so agree, Kristin and Miguel. I came to NECC to network and feel I have done that. It was such a joy to put a face with a name, regardless of whether or not the name is an FB or not. And thank you to all who were kind when I just walked up and said hello. I hope that if I ever get to FB status, I never exclude others from a conversation. This conference has been all about connecting and communicating. Exclusivity just shuts all that down.

  18. Jennifer Wagner Reply July 2, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Can I have a do over (of my post) after reading Christian Long’s post??

    thank you!!

  19. That’s a common problem is all sorts of settings. Famous academic, famous political figure, famous news person, famous business person, and on and on. It’s pretty new in education in many ways. There are all sorts of easy answers but most of them are probably wrong. It’s easy to say the FB owes something to the LR who is after all part of why they are famous. It is also easy to say that they owe some mentering to the NYFB. And yet it is also fair to say that the FB in entitled to spend some time with the other FB who happens to be a friend. All are really valid statements. But the fact is there is only so much time in the day and people should also be entitled to determine their own balance.

    I could not spend as much time as I might have liked at the blogger cafe at NECC so I set goals based on that. I wanted to meet some of my favorite bloggers. Conversations would desirable but I knew in advance that they were likely to be short and probably shared rather than exclusive. I knew that others would have the same goals. But I figure that a short face to face meeeting is a huge step towards making online connections stronger and more effective. So I was very happy to have a couple of short conversations with a number of FB. I missed meeting with some others (including several I really would have liked to have met) but I had other goals at NECC as well.

    You started this off with “think about this for the next year” and I think that is good advice. I think the FB, the NYFB, and the LR all have to think about it. There are win-win ways to deal with this question but it requires some thought and some work.

  20. whatever, now I am blocked because of what I said. Good to be a NYFB. Or a NTBFB (Never to be famous blogger)

  21. Disappointing! I thought we were all in this together. Even thinking about there being “FB’s” brings the bile! Never thought this crowd would sink to the level of Paris and Brittany!

  22. Whoa! Did YOU open a can of worms, or what? 🙂

    I think I know what prompted this. A friend/blogger who was down there and even did a blogger cafe session commented about this, as well. He said that he felt that SOME people behaved in a manner that made them appear to be aloof. I, on the other hand, experienced just the opposite from every person I talked to. They seemed willing to chat. Of course, some were trying to get ready for a presentation, so a considerate person would make the chat brief – hoping to continue it later.

    Now, there ARE those who most certainly DO get some sort of thrill out of name dropping. Those ‘star struck’ individuals tended to be the ones who wouldn’t spend much time talking to you, unless you were an A-Tier blogger. Pity for them. Their loss.

    Here’s a frightening thought: What if someone went home thinking that WE were behaving in such a manner? I’m the most approachable guy on the planet, but what if somehow my actions were misread as being aloof. I’d feel TERRIBLE about that.

    So, let’s hope that by next year we’ll get over this phase. Maybe our button will be, “We’re all in this together!” Or, “Let’s talk” Or, my favorite is still, “Help send Jim Gates to TED.” 🙂

  23. As I said in a comment over at Christian Long’s blog, this was somewhat of an issue at this year’s NECC, whether we like to think it was so or not. The types of interactions that we look for and expect from each other are open questions right now. We’re a community but it’s a community with loose ties…

  24. I’m borrowing a computer at the in-laws without the tinyurl plugin, so the link to my post is above if you click on my name.

    Scott, you hit on something that was bothering me too, but I have to say, I’m not crazy about how you executed this. I blogged about it on my site, and it has the critique there.

    Great meeting you f2f.

  25. Scott: Struck by your reminder that we are ultimately a “community of loose ties”.

    This is not a final answer so much as a vital reminder. Much thanks on that.

    And that remaining fraction of a fraction of a fraction you mentioned over at my joint? Well, it was never really ‘missing’, friend.

    Keep up the good work. And never shy away from asking questions that ruffle all kinds of feathers along the way!

  26. When did we, educators, become so judgmental? Who is FB and Not FB and who is a Has-Been FB (do we have any of those yet)?

    Obviously, that’s subjective and for a social networking “newbie” perhaps who is starstruck, who cares if he/she geeks out?

    Isn’t it about making connections? I think @MiguelGuhlin said it with tremendous grace!

    If you aren’t there, in the Bloggers Cafe for example, to make connections, and have conversations and meet people, then what are you there for? If it was truly a problem, then I wouldn’t be surprised if a “backchannel” bloggers cafe emerged at NECC2009 for the truly famous. But you will probably have to present your Technorati ranking at the door in order to get in.


  27. You know, I thought we were all in this education thing together?!?

    I was looking forward to meeting some people F2F but you know I don’t consider any of blogger to be a “FB”. The fact that some of your do think your famous really isn’t very appealing.

    Aren’t we here to improve education, not stroke our egos?

    @lee there was a a secret blogger’s cafe area for those who do think they are FB.

  28. I love reading diverse reactions like these!

    Scott, I think what you are considering with your initial question has to do with conference design. From what I have read here and in other places, the memorable moments of NECC had to do with the conversations that were had. Perhaps your question can be re-worded to:

    ‘How can we best design a conference so that everyone can have the conversations they need to have? ‘

    If I were to answer THAT question I’d say we should consider Open Space Technology as a design format. Check it out –>

    That way everyone would be having the conversations they need to have about the issues they are passionate about with others who feel the same.

    Isn’t that connecting is all about?

    Too bad I missed it this year – definitely on the agenda for next!

  29. Let me get this straight: at a conference attended by 18000 people, person A wants to have an exclusive conversation with person B in a very public meeting place designed for networking and interaction. Persons C and D would like to be included in the conversation, and perhaps got the brush-off from A and B. Hmmm, what would Miss Manners say? On the one hand, perhaps A and B could remove to a more private location to have their heart-to-heart. On the other hand, perhaps C and D should excercise good manners and not butt into a conversation without an invitation, friendly glance, uplifted brow, or some indication of welcome. And if A is indeed tense because he or she is preparing for a presentation, that is why we have rooms set aside for presenters – the Bloggers Cafe is not the location for that. Like Jack Nicholson said in “Mars Attacks!” – can’t we just try to get along????

  30. Okay, I know I’m a little late chiming in here, but it basically comes down to this – we are all happy that there even IS a Blogger’s Cafe at NECC where we MIGHT be able to spend some time meeting/conversing with fellow bloggers. Whether we get an opportunity to meet an FB (or whether we even want to) is irrelevant. It’s all about the experience or else we wouldn’t have gotten into blogging in the first place.

    Personally, I appreciate the aloof FBs as well as the friendly FBs because knowing which one they are gives me a new perspective when reading their blogs. Knowledge is always a good thing.

  31. Aren’t we taking it all a bit too seriously? I mean, a famous education blogger isn’t exactly the same as like… Mick Jagger or something…

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