I received an email last week with "Get Ready for EDUCAUSE 2010" in the subject. Like a lot of the emails that I receive, I wasn't able to get to it until this weekend. The 2010 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference  is a month away so the email wasn't a priority. I finally got around to reading through the message and I must say, my excitement for this conference has increased.
The email contained a call to action to use social media tools  to "generate preconference buzz." While several conferences have incorporated social media, EDUCAUSE is being exceptionally proactive. For the 2010 conference, EDUCAUSE is encouraging the use of the following sites/tools:
- Blog posts (tag with EDUCAUSE10)
- Twitter (tag with #EDUCAUSE10 )
- Flickr entries (tag with EDUCAUSE10)
- Podcasts or videos (tag with EDUCAUSE10)
- Session discussions (Go to the Program page, log in, and select a session. Look for the Comment/Tweet tabs at the bottom of the page.)
Another neat aspect of the email was the inclusion of links to "behind the scenes" podcasts. I listened to the "Technology/Participant Support [MP3] " audio snippet and was very impressed with the unbelievable amount of infrastructure that is necessary to create a seamless experience for participants. I think it really illustrates the proactive attitude and strategy that keeps EDUCAUSE's connectivity at a level that surpasses most higher education conferences.
My enthusiasm for this conference continues to increase. A few weeks ago I was asked by Joshua Kim  if I wanted to join him on his "Blogging About Educational Technology " session. I had already planned on attending Joshua's session as it was present on my selected sessions list . I readily accepted Joshua's invitation and can't wait to participate on the discussion panel.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking...this guy is such a fanboy for EDUCAUSE. I wholeheartedly agree. Have you seen how the conference schedule integrates with member profiles? For example, my participation in the blogging session already shows up on my EDUCAUSE profile . Links to presenter profiles appear on each scheduled event. If you use the EDUCAUSE online schedule builder, your profile appears in the attendees tab for the sessions you have selected. I hope that other higher education associations are taking notes. EDUCAUSE's system integration is flawless. After building your schedule for the conference, you can output it as an iCal file. I've already imported the file into my Google Calendar. I now have the sessions that I want to attend at the ready via my Droid X. It's brilliant!
One of the most valuable aspects of attending an event like EDUCAUSE 2010 is the amazing amount of networking that will take place. The "Affinity Finder " is a great way to "find colleagues at institutions around the globe that share similar interests and desires for solutions that you do." I now know that there is one other person who will be attending who lists "blogs" as an interest area. I am very relieved that I'm not the only one.
This is my 20th post for Inside Higher Ed. How am I doing? Are there any topics that you want me to write about? I'm a student affairs professional, I am compelled to check-in from time-to-time.
Do you tweet? Let's connect. Follow me on Twitter.