Very Cool! Meeting online friends face-to-face

Last year, I had my first ever “Tweet Up” at the JALT Conference in Shizuoka. For those not familiar with Twitter, a Tweet Up is when people who know each other through Twitter have a chance to meet face-to-face. Even though we were still a relatively small group of Twitter-using teachers, the excitement was huge. It added an entirely new dimension to the conference for me, and for others. Because the conversation began before the conference did, and continued long after it ended, the conference “high” lasted longer, too!

This picture is from our serendipitous Tweet Up at the welcome reception that JALT and Oxford University Press co-sponsored on the first night of the conference.

Scott Thornbury met the MASH Collaboration folks, which led to his returning to Japan for the MASH Equinox 2010, which led to him agreeing to dance with me for Rob Newberry’s PLN Project :-)

I wrote an article about “The Difference a Network Makes” for Teachers Learning with Children (the Teaching Children SIG newsletter) if you’re interested in reading more about last year’s conference.

BUT, now we’re all just about packed up and on the road to Nagoya, and there are a lot more teachers on Twitter! We’re going to start the conference with an official Tweet Up, at the JALT/OUP Welcome Reception again. We’ll be meeting in Room 1003 this Friday, November 19th, from 6:30 to 8:30. Don’t worry if you are on Facebook but not on Twitter. We’re not that picky here in Japan–online friends are online friends! (However, I’m willing to bet that we’ll have several members with their iPhones handy to help teachers set up Twitter accounts, too!)

We’ll probably be taking photos throughout the evening, since people will be arriving at different times, and our VIP Twitter friends (like Nicky Hockley, one of our plenary speakers this year) will have to leave early for additional VIPing. We’ll definitely be posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook that evening, so that our friends who couldn’t come to Japan can enjoy our Tweet Up vicariously.

Our “official” Tweet Up is at the reception, because that’s open to everyone, it’s free, and OUP is a generous host (there will be an open bar and snacks). However, if you won’t be in Nagoya in time for the welcome reception, don’t worry! Basically, anytime online friends meet in a group, it’s considered a Tweet Up, and these unplanned meetings are just as much fun as the planned ones. I know that a great number of Twitter and Facebook friends will be at Be the Change on Saturday evening, many of them presenting Pecha Kucha in order to raise money to support the goal of spreading Hope Clubs and Design for Change across Japan. (Last I heard, there were a very few seats left for this event, so if you’d still like to join, register soon! There’s a 1500 yen minimum donation, but 100% goes to charity, so it’s all good!) Expect many pictures of happy online friends enjoying some face time and supporting a good cause.

There are a lot of special events scheduled during JALT, and every one of them is a chance to meet the people you enjoy learning with, and spending time with online. I can tell you from experience that people are a lot taller in person than they look on Twitter and Facebook!

Now, to finish packing! See you in Nagoya!

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

About Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto has taught English and ESL in the US, and EFL in Japan. An EFL teacher and teacher trainer since 1985, she has conducted workshops throughout Asia, the USA and Latin America. Barbara’s motto is ‘Always try new things’, so these days, when she’s not teaching, writing, or giving workshops, she’s exploring the potential of new technologies for collaboration and professional development. You can often find Barbara online working with teachers around the world as Program Director for International Teacher Development Institute ( or on her new blog for English teaches who work with young learners, Teaching Children English.

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5 Responses

  1. sugarjo sugarjo says:

    Hi Barb!

    Unfortunately, I won’t be in Nagoya until late Friday :-( But can’t wait till Saturday to meet up with new and old friends :-) See you there!


  2. See you tomorrow Barbara!

  3. It is great to meet people ‘in the flesh’ so to speak. You make even firmer friends when you return to cyberspace!!

  1. November 18, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell and Barbara Sakamoto, David Dodgson. David Dodgson said: Very Cool! Meeting online friends face-to-face via @barbsaka […]

  2. November 20, 2010

    […] Very Cool! Meeting online friends face-to-face – Teaching Village RT @barbsaka: Hope to meet a lot of Twitter and Facebook teacher friends at Tweet Up Friday night at #JALT (Very cool!) … (tags: JALT) […]