So a bunch of mathy people are going to be meeting up pretty soon here. Yes, that’s right Twitter Math Camp is near, and since I am not going I wanted to give something to the blogosphere in solidarity. Step one to this is creating #TwitterJealousyCamp for anything awesome from TMC that I simply must retweet. The second step is creating this nifty guide that I have had in my head for awhile, but never found the time to write. It is not so much for meeting at Math Camp (but may come in handy for some), but rather the “Hey let’s go for coffee, I’m in town” type of tweet ups. This guide is based mostly on true events. Without further ado, here goes...
Step 1 - Decide on a Meeting Location
This is natural. You want to meet, and assuming you are meeting in a real space-time type spot, then it is simple. Choose your location, clarify it, double clarify it, and get there! Not much left to say here.
Step 2 - Ponder upon the Fact that you may be Meeting up with a Murderer
Remember when you (or your kids) first went on things like chat rooms (anybody remember those things? It was like Twitter, but in a ‘room’)? You learned early on that anyone to whom you were talking was probably a serial killer, a crazy stalker, or some other predator. Yet at some point, after you have set this meeting location, you realise that you completely forgot about your internet safety knowledge from the nineties. A good time to remember these rules and ponder the horrors of what will most assuredly befall you when you meet @mathymurder is usually on public transit on the way to your meeting.
I thought @iheartAXES just really liked both x-axis AND y-axis... I’ve made a horrible error.
It’s all right though; I've thought through this for you. Imagine a person goes through thirteen years of grade school and secondary school, and somehow comes out with the desire to teach. Then this person goes to 5 more years of school to prepare to become a teacher. They teach for a bit, become a blogger and member of Twitter only to lure other Math teachers into a Starbucks for a tweet up so they can bisect you?
Cool cover-up story bro!
Ya, I think that’s pretty ridiculous too.
Step 3 - Find Whomever You Are Looking For
So you have now arrived at your destination, and now you are trying to figure out if the person walking in your general direction is the person you are meeting. You check their Twitter account and study every detail of it; you have memorised every aspect of their face, and now you know it is them. Unfortunately, Twitter profile pics tell you absolutely nothing about what they look like. Sure many people have a picture of their actual face, but that means nothing. There is a very simple rule to follow when you are sitting there waiting for your tweep to show up. If you think it is them, it’s not. The converse of this rule is also true; if you think they are not the person, they are. Once you decide, one way or the other, the wave function collapses and you are wrong.
I’m certain that she’s @jedimathter, therefore she is not. Now that I know she’s not; she is...
This scenario ultimately leads to sitting beside your tweep for fifteen minutes without realising. If you want to avoid this, be very clear about who you are and when you arrive (I’ve been told that I need to let people know I look like a hipster, so now you know), or use this hilarious misunderstanding as the great ice breaker to avoid the inevitable and awkward...
Step 4 - Start the Conversation Somehow
… point that you realise this is a real person! Twitter is not some fancy AI created by the Matrix to simulate real social communities online. There are living people out there, and now you get to talk to them. Only this time, you can’t wait an hour to get just the right amount of wit, insight, and the always awesome meta hashtag to show that you rock at this communication thing. Nope, now you have to interact with this person in real time. Do you start with Math? Do you ask what their favourite TV show is? I don’t know what the surefire way is, but you’ve probably made a fool of yourself online so stop worrying about it now. You’re only in this situation because this person thinks you rock, so just rock out!
Step 5 - If You HAVE to Do Math, Prepare to Fail...
I would almost say avoid doing math in front of your tweeps but let’s face it, that’s ridiculous. We love math we want to do it, and we will do it. As with any opportunity to do what you love in front of others who (at least for me) are better than you at this skill, you will inevitably make a mistake. It’s hard I know, but this will happen. The best part about it too? It will always happen on basic arithmetic. There’s no way around it.
The best way I have found to deal with this situation (it really helps in every social situation when people put your numeracy skills into question) is to come up with a catch phrase to humourously explain away your folly. Mine is “Oh, I’m good at math; I just suck at arithmetic.” What works especially well with this technique is the conversation can be instantly diverted toward talking about how calculation and arithmetic is only one small part of the great world of mathematics. This works to show that you really get "it," and also detracts from your inability to do the math that you probably penalise your students for forgetting (hypocrite!). Plan B, practice your darn arithmetic!Step 6 - Winding Down
So you have just finished your three hour long coffee, solved all of education’s problems, reminisced about tweets and blog posts of yesteryear, and now it is time to part ways. Congratulations you have survived your tweet up, but you cannot forget the most important step. The post-tweet-up tweet. There are three important things you must remember about the post tweet-up tweet.
- You cannot start the post-tweet up tweet, until you no longer have visible contact with the person. Doing so before hand is like saying good bye to someone and proceeding to walk beside them for five minutes; it is always awkward.
- Be polite and let them know how awesome they are. Don’t forget to mention any funny little anecdote that may have occurred.
- Make others jealous! I don’t think I have officially done such a thing before, but I know that whenever I read about tweet-ups I instantaneously wish I could be there, so I am assuming that this is an unwritten, but now written, rule of the post-tweet-up tweet.
And there you have it. If you follow these simple steps you will have a great time meeting all those crazy people on the interwebs that have a fascination with this great and crazy world of education. It’s good to know that I am in such fine company, and I hope you all know it too!