After five days of thinking about educational technology and social networking and their impact on me, both personally and professionally, I was thrilled to escape my busy home life and devote a few evening hours to reading about these topics. Computer, smartphone, chargers and earbuds in hand, I happily found a table in a near-empty coffee shop. As I sipped my tea, I poured over Twitter feeds, read blogs, clicked on links, bookmarked videos, fought with my flash drive, texted friends and family, confirmed accounts, posted words of thanks and pleas for help, constantly switched from smartphone to laptop and back again… and time absolutely flew by. As I packed up my belongings, I felt quite good about what I’d accomplished in that time. I’d learned a bit about online data storage, gathered some great links to content for my high school courses, felt the wrath of a jump drive gone wrong (again) and survived, and connected with countless colleagues, friends and family members. It wasn’t until the moment that my laptop was closed and my phone landed in my bag, that I realized that the quiet coffee shop was now almost full. An elderly lady passed by, her shaky hands carrying a tray of steaming mugs. The smile on her face caught my attention, so I followed her gaze only to find four equally delightful smiles on the softly wrinkled faces of her friends. As she sat down, the chatter began. I don’t think they even noticed me as I walked by them, heading to the door, but, in that brief moment, they had left an impression on me. They weren’t the only ones. The eight other tables, each with four or five seniors, were equally impossible to ignore. The natural flow of their conversations, the inflection in their voices, the friendly glances, gentle pats of the hand, and unspoken words… they were connected. Truly connected. When I reached the door, I was feeling much less satisfied with how I had spent my time. I was left wondering how people could be so accessible – day or night, through countless mediums – but still be quite unavailable. The New York Times Magazine touched on this and found that technology is not severing human relationships … but I’m not convinced. When I’m at work, I’m emailing or texting about my family; when I’m with my family, I’m emailing or texting about work. Am I ever really anywhere? I don’t want to simply live for technology. I want technology to make life (real life!) better for me. I struggle to find my happy place where apps, websites, devices, and the like fit into my world without taking over. I believe I’m in the right place to explore this question. I look forward to learning from all of you.