Having spent a third of my life in and around New York City, and being a huge sports fan, I often found myself listening to one of the greatest sports radio talk shows ever to grace the airwaves in the Mike and the Mad Dog show on WFAN in the afternoons. A brutally honest sports radio duo, Mike and the Mad Dog had an incredibly loyal following of rabid New York City sports fans. And, when those loyal listeners had the opportunity to get through to chat with them on air, they generally started their conversations with “long time listener, first time caller” before kicking into many a diatribe on why this New York sports team or that player managed to let their team down the previous day.
As I sat at Solution Tree’s Author Speak 2011 as a first time author and one of the 99 “Voices of Solution Tree” to present to educators this past week along with my co-authors Bill Ferriter and Eric Sheninger, I admittedly found the experience to be a little surreal especially as a “long time listener; first time author” in the education space. For those that know me well, public acknowledgement of my work is not something I neither enjoy nor expect. However, I did want to share a few of experiences to highlight an important point to come later.
Surreal Experience #1
On Tuesday, during the open session of the event, President and CEO of Solution Tree Jeff Jones asked, at one point in his opening remarks, for all the authors in the audience to stand. He noted that Author Speak was unique because not only would the authors be leading sessions, but that they would be learning “shoulder to shoulder” with the participants.
I happened to be sitting with Eric Sheninger and when we stood, there was what I can only describe as a hushed murmur that came over the room as people recognized the authors around them. In fact, to my immediate left I noticed people pointing at Eric and me and taking out the program to find our bios. Soon after they were nudging each other as if Eric and I were somehow different than they; not so much – remember, “long time listener; first time author.”
Surreal Experience #2
On Tuesday evening, I had the chance to meet a few of the other authors and several of them said to me, “I enjoyed your book and your work.” Huh? Are you talking to me? Seriously, you’re talking to me? – remember, “long time listener; first time author.”
Surreal Experience #3
Today, on the closing day of the event, I was scheduled to have my author interview and photo shoot. When I arrived, a member of the Solution Tree marketing department explained the process, I was mic’d up and then sat down for a one on one interview about my work and book. When done, I was introduced to the staff photographer who shot photos of me in a room and then in the conference books store… Whaaat? – remember, “long time listener, first time author."
Now, I do not share these experiences to be vain or showy – that’s truly not me. Rather, I do so because I’m just a husband, father, and family man that happens to be a “long time listener; first time author” all because I had the good fortune to believe in the power of Twitter and social media to build connections outside my own campus in an effort to expand my thinking about teaching and learning in the 21st Century.
So my question to you, dear reader, is if you've been a “long time listener” why not start Communicating and Connecting with Social Media….who knows, you might just be the next “first time author.”
Seriously, what do you have to lose?