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November 10th, 2010

~Wednesday~  It was rough getting up this morning. I had my alarm set for 7:30, but got up a little before, and I was down to breakfast by a little after 8:00. I sat at a table by myself, since I was on the tail end of the 7:00-8:30 serving time, and the place was more empty than full.

I didn't finish eating until the first set of sessions (8:30-9:15) had already started, and I hadn't started packing my stuff at all to be out for our 11:00 check-out time, so I just went up to my room.



I sat at my desk and logged into work to check my e-mail, and after sitting there for a second, I felt a tickle on my arm and when I checked it out, there was an ant on me. I looked down at the desk, which was a dark, dark brown and then I noticed an ungodly long, busy ant trail going from one corner of the desk, diagonally across it, including underneath my laptop. There were hundreds and hundreds of them.

I checked a grocery bag of chips and pretzels and crackers, which was alongside my cooler that had some cheese, peanut butter, and some of that left over pizza and Stromboli from back on Sunday in it, but there were no ants to be found in or around either of those. I lifted up my laptop and looked all in it and under it for any that might have crawled up in there.

Seeing none, I went to the phone between the beds to call the front desk, and I saw one on Nick's bed, but that was it. They said they would send someone up immediately, but it was probably 15 or 20 minutes before anyone arrived, and in the meantime I packed up all my stuff, looking on and in everything as I did.

When the maintenance guys finally got there, the first thing the one said was, "Good god! I've never seen that many in one room before," which told me they had seen some ants before. Later I heard a story of someone who had complained about ants in their room and they'd been moved to some penthouse room. I should have complained on day one when I saw them on the bathroom floor.

At any rate, they began fumigating the place, spraying the hell out of that desk, with the bug spray right on the nice dark wood finish of that desk. It was bubbling a little bit, and I couldn't really tell if it was the spray bubbling or if the wood was buckling a little. All I knew was that I only had about five minutes to get out of there while I could still breath.

I had to get in touch with Sarah to see if she could meet me in the lobby to open her car for me to put my stuff in, as she was my ride home. Needless to say, by the time that all got taken care of, I'd missed the beginning of the next set of sessions, which were from 9:30 - 10:15.

I did end up going to a session in the last set of sessions though, from 10:45-11:30, the Where U At? Location-Based Services for Higher Education, which was presented by an NC State colleague, and was very, very interesting.



I loved lunch (extra much) today, because it was sandwiches and wraps, along with a choice of salad, and chips.


One of the coolest things about this conference was that they ran a "live tweet board" in the background of all the breakfasts and lunches. So, if you tweeted with the hashtag of #unccause, a few seconds later, your tweet would show up on the big screen at one end of the ballroom. You can see one in the background of this picture:



Here is the series of tweets I sent at various times over the course of the three days, all during mealtimes to get them to display on the big screen.

This one I sent Tuesday morning after having gone to bed at 8:30 Monday evening avoiding the heavy-duty drinking that went on during the trivia game and late into the night after it:


And this one at breakfast or lunch on Tuesday. The theme of the conference was, "Stop. Collaborate. Listen." So I "played" a little with that:


This one was while I was sitting at that table where none of those other people engaged me. I don't think they even knew that tweets were being displayed, as they didn't have any smartphones with them (or out at least) and they had their backs to the big screen:


And I followed that one immediately with this one:


I tweeted this one at yesterday's lunch when that person introduced herself to me and then me to everyone else at the table. I don't think any of them were aware this tweet ended up over their heads for the whole room to see:


And then I sent this one pretty much right after that one when I noticed all of those directors in my organization sitting together (slightly passive-aggressive, I know, but "leading by example" is a real hot button of mine):


And finally, I tweeted this one at lunch today with the CIO of our organization sitting with me as well as one of the directors, one of my favorite ones, at that:


I thought it was funny to see "head muckety-mucks" up on the big screen. I don't think either the CIO or the director saw it up there, though.



Following lunch, in the same ballroom, the closing session of the conference took place, which consisted of a panel of three people talking about social media, with my friend, colleague, and program chair of the conference, Jason Austin, moderating.

Here's a picture of the panelists:

(l-r; Wayne Sutton, Adam Covati, and Dr. Leslie Dare)

They took questions at the end, and I was the only one who asked one. I'm capturing it for posterity: "I recently attended a talk by Dr. Sherry Turkle out of MIT, who has just completed a 15-year ethnographic study of adolescents and their use of technology, and she noted that, from a psychological point of view, people who don't know how to be alone are destined to be lonely, and that social networks and other technologies of today do not nurture being comfortable being alone. She gave the example of a 15-year-old girl, who when something happens to her, she has to text her friends and see what they have to say about it before she knows how to feel about it. In other words, she doesn't know how to feel about something until she has external feedback on how to do so. And I was wondering about any of y'all's thoughts on that."

At the end of the session, I went up and thanked each of the panelists and told Adam and Wayne it was good to see them. I'd met both of them a long time ago in the early days of the first tweet-ups that happened in downtown Raleigh when Twitter was growing like wildfire.

After packing up a few final things from the conference, Sarah, Jason, Jen, and I were off in Sarah's SUV for the 2-or-so-hour ride home. We had some good conversation along the way, so the time went by at a fairly tolerable clip.

Sarah dropped me off first, at around 4:00, although all of the clocks in my house still said 5:00 since the time had changed while I was gone.

It was good to be home, and after spending a little while going through my work e-mail that had trickled in in the last three days, I took a nap before dancing.



Dancing was fun enough tonight. The bar was fairly packed, so that was fun. The best part was getting exercise, because I swear if I get any fatter, I'll just explode.

Gotta start addressing that soon.

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