No autographs please -- you're now in the company of a celebrity, after all. In the past 48 hours, I have been not one, but TWO YouTube videos.
I'm sure they're going viral as we speak.
Video #1 - Happy 40th Birthday, Alec
The great thing that I love about this video is how strong of a role social media played in it's creation. The concept was the brain child of Dean Shareski (@shareski for all those Tweeps out there), who wanted to do something special for his real-life friend's big 4-0 milestone. What is so awesome is that he recognized just how strongly connected Alec Couros (@courosa), aka the birthday boy, was to numerous people via the oft-made-fun-of social networking site Twitter, and how great it would be if he could get many of Alec's tweeps, as well as "real-life" connections, involved in the video's creation.
Having been given the opportunity to be one of the 75 folks partaking in this digital birthday gift, I jumped at the chance. Why? Numerous reasons (maybe my slight affection for attention was one of them), but my primary reason was that I respect both Dean and Alec and was honoured to be part of such a great project. I HAVE met both Alec and Dean in "real life", but my relationships with them began online...no, not in the Plenty of Fish way, but via recommendations by various people that I follow both of them on Twitter. They're both heralded as being intelligent, forward thinking educators with a strong affiliation with technology and the impact that said technology can have on students in the classroom. And they're both funny with a great sarcastic streak, which I'm also partial to.
Now, if you're like my husband, you're probably quite wary of building connections with virtual strangers online. I mean, what if they aren't who they say they are? How can you possibly get a feel for someone's personality via text-based communication? Can you REALLY get to know someone 140 characters at a time? I myself was skeptical 2 years ago when I joined the Twitter community full time, but I can honestly say that I've gotten to know some amazing people whom I hold in the highest regard, despite having not met 95% of them in "real life". Case in point: having first followed Alec & Dean via their Twitter feeds, and then interacting with them on Twitter, I sought out real life encounters. Not in the creepy stalker way, but at conferences and events that they were speaking at. And what did I find when I met them in person? Fanastic people who were even more fascinating in person than in the virtual world I had first "met" them in.
I should probably stop gushing here, lest Alec's brother George get jealous, or Dean & Alec get swelled heads :)
My online-turned-real-life interactions don't end there. I could go on and on about how great it has been to get a chance to meet @jenclevette, @tibon007, @fiteach, @bdyck and @gcouros in real life situations. I ran into @cunningandy and his wife in IKEA a few weeks ago, and had to explain to my husband that I had first met Andy on Twitter, before getting to know him at various educational conferences/events. On the flip side of things, I've been recognized at such events, and had people come up to me saying "you're @VanessaSCassie! I follow you on Twitter!" I find this both flattering and amusing -- do I REALLY resemble the flukey good picture that I happened to take 18 months ago and obviously made as my profile pic for every online networking site?
I think @jonbecker said it best when he tweeted on Monday:
I couldn't agree more, Jon.
So without further ado, here is the soon-to-be-infamous YouTube birthday video (I'm near the end if you care to watch for me):
What's video #2, you ask? As those who follow my blog (hi Mom and Grandma!), you'll know that I'm a bit of an Emerson Drive fan. Don't know who they are? I suggest you find out.
Anyhoo, they're currently on a cross-Canada tour, and I was lucky enough to score front row seats to their Medicine Hat show this past weekend (and seats to Red Deer and Calgary shows too, but that's a whole other discussion). They're also into social media promotion, and have taken random video of their first week on tour. Guess who made it in? Moi! (sort of). Here's the trick to seeing me in the video below: look VERY closely at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen around the 42 second mark, and you can catch a glimpse of my grey and black striped shirt in the front row.
I'm sure agents will be lining up to sign me at any time.