In my opinion #neta14 was the best yet. I have been attending NETA since 1995. And out of all of those NETA conferences, I have decided NETA 2014 was the best. And it isn't because the NETA board put together a stellar program (they did). And it isn't because the NETA board knocked it out of the park with keynote speakers (as they do every year). It is because I joined Twitter two years ago. Attending NETA in person is one thing. Attending NETA in person while on Twitter is a completely different experience.
By following the conference hashtag #neta14, I was able to attend multiple sessions at the same time. I couldn't decide which keynote to attend on Friday but I knew that whichever one I chose, I would also be able to follow along with the one I didn't choose. I could tell which sessions were "hot" simply by the number of tweets coming from them. I picked up some great tips from sessions I didn't attend just by following #neta14.
But to me, the best thing about being on Twitter and attending NETA is getting to meet all of those tweeps face to face. And sometimes the best sessions you "attend" aren't sessions listed in the program but the get togethers you have with people in between sessions or at lunch or over a beverage after the conference has ended for the day.
I loved catching up with people I've followed for a long time. Some of my favorite conversations happened Wednesday night before the conference started. I love any time I can sit down with @mrbadura, @catlett1, @odiep77, @hcallihan, @MoTechTrainer, @Coach_Sautter, @chericson. I value their opinions and love to hear about all of the awesome things they are doing.
From my business teacher days, I always love connecting with @wolfep--our paths have followed a similar trajectory over the years. And @ShellyMowinkel whom I've known forever but presented with for the first time at #neta14. I am always floored by her constant energy and love for teaching.
And I loved sharing a spot on the floor with @CynthiaStogdill. She is my absolute favorite librarian on Twitter and I was thrilled when she caught my attention as she was taking a break on the floor between sessions. I'd "cop a squat" with that gal anytime!
But my most favorite thing about Twitter and NETA is getting to meet new people face to face. At the top of my list this year was the amazing @BethStill. And let me tell you, she is just as awesome in person as she is on Twitter. I am so excited to see all of the great things she will do at Gering Public Schools next year. And I got to chat briefly with @Mr_Svoboda from Kearney. I've been following him since Kearney rolled out Chromebooks and look forward to connecting with him as Norfolk does the same. And someone whom I've only followed the last month or so @chad_ackerson was nice enough to come to one of my presentations and introduce himself. I'm looking forward to doing some #chromeappsmashing with him.
And I know I'm going to forget someone but anytime I can connect in person with @Mrskmpeters, @j_allen, @annfeldmann1, @jennykbps, @pfinneyesu17, @ASimpson_Prin, @m_hinkel is a great day!
So if you've attended NETA in the past and you haven't yet joined Twitter, what are you waiting for? You will not only add to your conference experience, you will meet some totally awesome people that you can connect with all year round!