Jed Cohen

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Reflecting on #140conf


So I went to The 140 Characters Conference.  Put on by Jeff Pulver, it was a two day conference dedicated to all things Twitter; you might remember it from some of my earlier posts.  I actually tweeted most of the conference from my phone, as I didn’t feel like carrying around my laptop for the two days.  My thumbs may have suffered some kind of repetitive strain injury as a result, but that’s okay.  If you’d like too, you can search for my tweets from the last two days to get a sense of what it was like to be there – that’s part of why I was tweeting at least.  Anyway, what follows are some of my thoughts about #140conf (as the kids on Twitter call it).  My apologies if I slip into twit-speak that you’re not familiar with – after two days spent in 140 characters, it’s might be a bit hard to get used to as much room as I want.

I want to begin by thanking Jeff and the “cast of characters” who spoke during the conference.  They are an amazing bunch of people who were gracious enough to take the time, effort, energy, and mental fortitude to put together a presentation and get up on stage in front of everyone.  So thank you!  It was quite an interesting experience to hear everyone speak, regardless of whether or not a) I’d ever heard of them before the conference or b) they were talking about something that I knew absolutely nothing about.

Overall I thought #140conf was quite impressive.  Now I’ve never been to an interactive media conference before, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  And it’s not like there were that many people who were my age (21) or with my background (recent college grad) there – at least from what I saw.  I apologize if I missed you, my peers (if you are my peer; if you aren’t, I’m still sorry I missed meeting you).  I must admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by the people there – I don’t regularly hang out with venture capitalists, startupsmulti-platinum musicians, and the like.  It’s kind of a daunting task for someone whose closest experience to working at a startup was creating a social media venture as a school project.  (My resulting awkwardness also explains why floating somewhere on the Internet there is probably a picture of me grimacing awkwardly at having to pose for a picture while sitting on a green chaise lounge by myself.  Sigh.)  But I did meet some cool people (and continue to meet some more on Twitter), so not all hope is lost for me in the networking world I suppose.

Anyway, the conference was a lot of fun at the same time.  It was a great way to get exposed to new ideas and Twitter users, while also getting a snapshot into this rather interesting community that is focused on social media and its uses.  And while we were two stories underground with occasionally not so great wifi, I think that the conference did a great job setting out to do what it intended, which was to “explore ‘the effects of twitter on: Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising and (maybe) Politics.’”  Was it perfect?  No.  But I do think that it broadened my Twitter horizons (twizons?).  The conference exposed me to people, ideas and strategies that were outside of my Twitter sphere before today.  And it really got me thinking about the ways in which I use social media now and what I could do differently.

Now #140conf was over 18 hours of panels.  They covered every aspect of Twitter you could think of, including ones that I, to be frank, didn’t have any interest in.  And there was the bit where I got annoyed at everyone telling me how to use Twitter (as I personally think that Twitter is whatever you want to do with it).  But that’s not really what I want to talk about.  What I really want to talk about are the ideas from the conference, which I can’t do in this one entry.  So I’m going to try something different.  In the month and a half I’ve had this blog up, I’ve published 16 posts.  That’s approximately 2.667 posts per week or 0.381 posts per day.  Not exactly ideal.  Instead of my semi-regular update pattern, I’m going to try and post one entry per day for the next seven days about #140conf – and I plan on writing them the same day I post them, so this ought to be interesting.  There were a ton of panels, and I won’t be able to cover them all, but I’m going to try and do my best to reflect about what I was most interested in.  So check back over the course of the week as I write and post (it’ll also give both you and me time to review the video from the conference, as well as some of the speakers’ slides on slideshare).

Oh.  Also, if you think you know someone who should speak at the next #140conf, Jeff Pulver is holding an open casting call for #140conf: LA and #140conf: London.  So go and tweet your nomination to #140conf!  Or for that matter, tweet your thoughts about my thoughts, or don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Written by Jed

June 18th, 2009 at 12:05 am

Posted in conference

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