From a “tech geek” point of view, a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico is not necessarily the biggest thing on your list.  You might be more interested in sitting around playing video games or on your laptop or playing with your iPod.  But when asked to contribute to something in a major way, you may look at things a little differently.  Now, I am not saying that I sit around playing video games all the time, ’cause I don’t, but what I am saying is that when I was asked to “live tweet” the 2011 NSCS National Convention, my outlook on “tech” was drastically changed. By the time I flew back home six days later, my world was turned upside down.

Live tweeting… what does that mean?  If you were at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel during the 2011 NSCS National Convention and you were following the hashtag #NSCSinPR, you quickly found out exactly what “live tweeting” was.  Thousands of #NSCSinPR mentions popped up throughout the 4 days of the convention with many different meanings. Most had to do with the various speakers we had (Byron Pitts from CBS & 60 Minutes, “Motivational Ninja” Josh Shipp….and a Goat, The Intern Queen, Lauren Berger & Ryan Kahn from MTV) or one of the many various workshops we were in ranging from Personal Branding to creating and perfecting your “elevator pitch” to perfecting your resume. #NSCSinPR was used so much that trying to count them mad your head became dizzy and it was concluded that we as a group more than doubled the amount of Convention tweets from past years.

But what does this have to do with a tech geek’s point of view?  Walking around with an iPad in my hand (now you know who is writing this…) you quickly understand what this society has turned into and how technology has evolved to match the world in which we live.  All you need to do is refer back to a blog posting by NSCS Manager of Member Engagement, Richard Failia, entitled ‘Note Taking in the 21st Century.” It has just become a way of life and a way of living.  Now, yes I did walk around with a pen and notepad taking down notes and writing down various quotes and stuff that I will be using with my chapter, but the majority of my notes went to Twitter and the iPad.  Try taking down notes using 140 characters….

Going from the registration where I tweeted, “Made it safely, here is a behind the scenes photo of registration getting set up!” to meeting a bunch of new friends on the roof of the Sheraton for the VIP Kickoff (and tweeting some more!), I quickly realized that tweeting was the way to let everyone know in the outside world that couldn’t make it to San Juan what was really taking place and what was really happening.  So, what would I tweet about? What did people at home want to know? “Yum…here’s my breakfast!”  Okay, so maybe a few of them were about food. But mainly I just tweeted things I wanted to remember, because most likely, that’s what others would be interested in, as well.

I definitely met some challenges while tweeting at Convention… some were fun and I got the chance to win prizes by participating in Twitter contests through @NSCS.  The biggest challenge of all, though, was on Saturday night. I was given the task to “life-tweet” the Honor Gala!  Yeah, so uh, #InsaneRapidTweeting!  It was a lot of fun though; and if you were at home, you got a chance to be in the room with us and got a chance to know when the awards were being announced and (for the most part) what schools were getting them. And luckily I had an awesome partner in crime, Hillary Foss.

Twitter and social networking can be a huge game changer; it certainly was for me.  I walked into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars 2011 National Convention as a Finance Major and thought I was set on what I wanted to do in life; but I walked out as a Communications Major with a specialization in Public Relations and Social Media.  Running around and seeing what everything was about and the seminars that were being held, with the thought in my head of what hashtag I could use became a way of life.  Now I often find myself on HootSuite or TweetDeck talking to friends I made while in San Juan, and wondering… if I had not been at Convention, just what would I be doing right now?  I do know one thing… well, two things… geek is chic!… and a goat!

Jason Sweigart is a student of Jones International University studying Communications and Public Relations and is the president the JIU chapter of NSCS. When he is not doing some kind of schoolwork, you can find him hitting the pavement and training for his half marathon coming in up the fall.  Jason enjoys roller coasters, spending time with friends and family, eating, and going to see his beloved Phillies and Eagles. He loves meeting as many new people as he can and connecting with all of them.  You can find him on Twitter at @jsweigartNSCS.