You had to be there

Today I went to a really dynamic panel discussing Philly's education crisis. I could go on for pages about it, but I wanted to focus on a smaller moment.

It seems as if every conference or panel nowadays has a Twitter component. In fact, a few years ago I reluctantly set up a Twitter account just so I could participate in the online conversation going on simultaneously along with the real life conversation. It's weird and uncanny, yet slightly addicting at the same time.

Listening to the panel and reading summaries of what people were tweeting concurrently was kind of an out of body experience. I was at the panel, but, then again, did I really even have to be at the panel? Couldn't I have just looked at the Twitter feed to surmise what the discussion was really about?

As I listened to a friend and colleague of mine speak about the amazing and talented teachers in Philadelphia, I got chills. At that moment, I put down my iPhone, closed out Twitter, and really tuned in. Yes, her comments were quoted on Twitter. But in order to get the full effect, you had to be there.