Today was insane … early breakfast to start, typical Monday AM administrative meetings, a two hour talk to a group of faculty in our College of Education, a race to pick up the little lady from school, back to the office to sign annual reviews, and then home to enjoy the last fleeting moments of an absolutely beautiful day here in State College. It was the kind of day that keeps you from email for four and a half hours only to find 75 of them waiting for you — after 5 PM. It was the kind of day that Twitter sort of stays off the radar screen and it was certainly the kind of day that keeps me from firing up the IM client even for a quick check.
It was the kind of day that requires me to reduce my online transparency and really crank open my face to face interaction. I live for the kinds of opportunities I had today — I got to show peers and leaders the insides of the new PSU Blogging tool getting set to go into pilot in a matter of days and engage them in really smart discussions about things I haven’t even thought about. When you get a chance to ignore the typical topics that go on in administrative meetings and talk about nuances and the opportunities a tool like a publishing platform can empower you are having a good day.
From there I was lucky enough to be asked to talk with a couple dozen faculty in our College of Education … let me tell you that going into a room with recognized leaders in the teaching and learning space can be awfully intimidating. But this didn’t turn out to be anything but a stimulating two hours. I talked to them about student expectations, trends on our campus, and what it is that we (central information technology) are doing to address these challenges. The conversation was rich and the response seemed very positive.
It all leads me to wonder how connected all of this web 2.0 stuff really is — is living and working in a very open and transparent way helping to get the ETS mission out there? I had someone today ask me to tailor the ETS Talk Podcast to be closer to their workout length — first of all, who in the world would listen to us talk during a workout and I just couldn’t believe that someone from the CoE would be one of them. I guess that is part of the answer though — people are listening (not thousands) and they are trying to engage. Without us making the time to provide the first conversation starter it wouldn’t be going on. I am becoming more and more amazed at how open and transparent the community I live in is becoming — blogging, sharing photos on Flickr, sharing tags on del.icio.us, and Twittering — all of it is changing the way we interact.
Days like today reinforce that going off line and turning up the online opacity as you work the physical rooms is a necessary part of the equation. Going transparent in the real world means taking a day off in the online space every now and then. The face to face things I did today will drive new opportunities that will take us all in new and exciting directions … one is not more important than the other — they are connected and need each other to create long term partnerships. Today is proof that online conversations create face to face conversations that will create new online conversations that will … you get the idea (I hope).