Social media has proven to be a powerful tool and one Dauphin Jr. High School English class grabbed the attention of a New York Times Best-selling Author on Twitter, and met him today in Enterprise.
"We work really hard to teach the kids about digital citizenship and so at the very beginning of the year, we did a trial run with creating a professional Twitter account for the students," explained Alane Williams, English teacher at Dauphin Jr. High School.
The professional Twitter account was used for educational purposes including connecting with some of the student's favorite authors such as Frank Beddor, author of The Looking Glass Wars trilogy. His novels were originally sold in the U.K. before being sold in the United States.
"It was a very curious situation because I was on my Amazon author page and I was looking at my sales record and I travel a lot in the southwest and northwest and then it popped up that I sell more books in Alabama," said Beddor. "And I thought wait a second, I've never been to Alabama, I've never done any school events in Alabama, how am I selling so many books?"
The Looking Glass Wars sparked a great deal of interest in English students at Dauphin Jr. High, that one student decided to to take learning a step further through the power of social media.
"As I was getting curious about that, one of the students here sent me a Twitter saying hey we all are reading your book, everybody in the school is reading your book," said Beddor.
"One of my students on a whim, just sent him a tweet asking him to tweet his teacher and so of course Mr. Beddor did and I just asked would you mind doing a Google hangout with us, " said Williams.
But, that one simple tweet and Google hangout was just the beginning.
"He said you should come see us, his name is Connor, so Connor was the inspiration and I talked to his teacher and she invited me to come out," explained Beddor.
"He told me he would be attending the Pensacola Comic Con and it is actually this weekend," said Williams.
Beddor spoke to 1,500 students at Enterprise High School, including Connor who was credited for the event, plus aspiring young authors.
"It's about finding a story that you need to tell and finishing it, even if it turns out to be less successful than you had hoped, in the finishing of it, it is a big accomplishment and sets the path for the next one," said Beddor.
"I think the biggest thing, especially for kids this age, they are very self reflective and very sensitive, so learning that failure is not a bad thing, it is just something that helps you grow, is a huge message to our students," said Williams.
Beddor is also a former world champion freestyle skier, actor, stuntman, and producer, best known for his work on the film There's Something About Mary, starring Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller, and Wicked.
He was officially welcomed by Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell and given a souvenir of Boll Weevil Monument.
If you would like to know more or purchase one of his novels you can visit http://frankbeddor.com/