I left the island almost exactly a year ago. I was sitting in a summer conference session learning about web 2.0 tools. At the time I did what I always do, I jumped right in and began exploring. I didn't know what I would find or have any idea that a trip was in my future, but as I created my Twitter account something within me began to change. I had tapped into a new power.
In the first few moments nothing seemed different, but by inserting my ridiculous picture as a representation of myself in Twitter, it was as if I was applying for a passport. The only difference was that I chose the stupidest picture a had of myself instead of the most professional. The picture is appropriate, because I am rather silly, so I left it in Twitter and kept it here on my blog as well.
I say that I have left the island because I am no longer isolated. Instead of mocking something new, which is of course the most grown up and mature thing that I could have done, I took a chance and just tried it. Without expectation, I allowed Twitter to grow and I sought out others simply because they were out there too. I formed a social network of people with similar interests, or at least people that made me laugh. Before I began my exploration, I knew the definition of a social network, but not the experience of being a part of one. It is similar to seeing a book on a shelf, as opposed to actually reading the book. Unlike a book, I don't think anyone will turn Twitter into a full length movie, but if they did it might look like this...
Earlier this week, I tried to express to a group of follow computer resource teachers how Twitter has changed me. Very few, if any of them, really know me. After all, I haven't been off the island that long. Telling them how I have changed seemed so hollow.
I tried to tell them of the professional growth that I have made in my short time on Twitter. I emphasised the personal learning network aspect of the micro blogging service. I even compared it to the master's program that I was in a few years ago, but the comparison, while accurate, sounded funny even to me. It is not hard to understand why there was a snicker or two.
You can be a travel agent, but people must choose to leave the island on their own. No one should be Gilligan and remain stuck on an island forever.
So, how do you encourage others to leave the island?