On the 17th and 18th of February, I attended and presented at the Ark Learning Assembly in Melbourne. Over the two days there were many interesting speakers talking about a range of topics including working out load, gamification, MOOCs , knowledge management as well as organisational case studies. For me though the hands down, without a doubt, best part was meeting people who up until the Assembly, I had only known online. One of these people, Vanessa North, who I knew through Twitter, summed it up best when she called it ‘Flipped Networking’. As she said, “you used to go to conferences, meet other people and then keep in touch (usually via e-mail). But now it’s the opposite, when you know people via Twitter and then go to a conference you feel like you already know them.”
I completely agree.
While I haven’t been to a lot of conferences, the ones I did attend in my days before twitter usually consisted of a bit of chit-chat with the people sitting near me. But now, being actively connected with others means that I seek people out who I know will be there or they find me. Handshakes are often replaced by hugs and the conversations become an extension of the usual 140-character messages. With flipped networking, relationships are strengthened and deeper connections are formed.
The same thing happened at the Third Place dinner between the conference days. There I met several more people face-to-face who had only been virtual connections up until that point. The only downside is that there wasn’t enough time to talk with everyone.
At the assembly we talked about the idea of the ‘new normal’, which was about how things are changing in the learning space. For me, that’s what flipped networking has become.