The Maori (native New Zealanders) have a saying:
He aha te mea nui?
What is the most important thing?
It is people,
it is people,
it is people.
At the end of this 3 day conference at EARCOS in Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, I believe more than ever that this is true.
Sure, I had some great workshops with very knowledgeable and interesting people, but what I will take away most is the face-to-face connections and conversations I had with people.
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In one of Jeff Utecht’s recent posts, he asked the question, “How do you connect: People first or Content first?” While the easy (and probably true) answer for me is a bit of both, I am really looking for a conversation, not merely a lecture. I choose people over content. We humans are social creatures, and strive to create social experiences. Content becomes more meaningful for me if I can interact and engage with it, AND when I feel I know the person providing the content.
Through the course of this conference, I can see some truly believe technology is anti-social. I think it facilitates different types of social interaction. We need balance; face-to-face, physical relationships are still crucially important (this conference proves that for me), but social interactions with people online are no less valid.
Technology is neutral. It’s not good or bad.
During the conference I put a face to the names of several people I tweet with: @mscofino, @jutecht, @amichetti and @Skardalien. I also met @nzchrissy, @hitechhall @msbecs, @jefflewis9, @sherrattsam, @cmrolfe & @ezevallos. I know that from now on, their tweets will be more meaningful to me because I know their faces. I’ve had a beer with most of them! We have a shared, common experience. I want to know what they have to say.
Thanks for the learning, friends! I look forward to continuing the conversation.
Photo credit: lawgeek