Last week the National Mentoring Summit was held in Washington, DC, with nearly 1000 people from around the country participating. While I've attended these in the past (see articles here and here), I didn't have the money to attend this year. So I participated by following some of the sessions via a live feed, and by interacting using the #mentoringsummit2016 hash tag.
If you've read any of the articles on this blog you'll know that my goal is to connect the entire "village" of people who need to be involved making needed tutoring, mentoring and learning organizations available in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities. To do that, thousands of people need to be connected to each other, to information the can use, and to individual locations where youth and volunteers connect in organized programs.
Intermediaries, such as the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, can help establish these connections. That's why I'm writing this article. It's what I do every day.
While conferences that gather a thousand people are great, and offer dozens of workshops to learn from, the reality is that you can only attend one workshop in each time frame, and in a big group, you only meet a few people, and get to ask one question...at the most.
Thus, I'm committed to online learning and network building as a way to connect with more people, and dig deeper into information that's available. See articles I'ved tagged as MOOC and Learning.
Thus, my work last week intended to build my own list of Twitter followers, and visitors to my own web sites, but to help others build their own networks at the same time.
Last week I asked Marc Smith, of NodeXL if he'd create a map using #mentoringsummit2016, which he did. Here's the link to the graphic shown below.
When I started using the Internet in 1998 there was great optimism that this was a low-cost way for people without big advertising dollars to reach out and build a network of people who shared a common purpose, and who might help each other. As we head into 2016 the optimism is somewhat reduced as Facebook, Google and others install controls on their platforms that make each message you post visible to only a small fraction of your followers and people who care about the same issues.