As I was reading Shawn Cornally’s post on why the Rubik’s Cube team is trying to win a Nobel Prize tonight, I could hear him through it. All thanks to his wonderful appearance at a Global Physics Department meeting, I feel I’ve gotten to know a little of his personality, humor, and voice.
As I thought about it, I realized that was happening with lots of the bloggers that I read, since I’ve met so many of them through the GPD. It made me wonder how useful that amount of connection is. I’ve been known to downplay the importance of meetings and conferences, thinking that twitter etc might be able to play the same role, though more cheaply. However, most social media connections are asynchronous and usually without voice. Certainly meeting someone at a conference really lets you form a bond, out of which you can really build collaborative ideas. I just wonder how necessary it is.
AAPT in Philly is coming up soon and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my online friends in person for the first time. I’m sure meeting them will give me deeper insights on their blog posts etc in the future. What I keep wondering, though, is can we do without the in-person meetings to save some money (my annual professional development funds don’t even cover my AAPT stay). Your thoughts?