People from all over the world, from a huge variety of industries, came together in New York with only a common language and common tool: Twitter. That’s bizarre. But that’s the 140 Characters Conference, created by Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver).
Aliza Sherman did a terrific job of capturing a flavor of the conference in her summary post at Web Worker Daily, The 140 Character Conference, or Why Twitter Matters Now. Jonny Goldstein made some wonderful visual notes from sessions, too.I’m adding some of my notes made during sessions, and a few reactions from the Twitter stream.
- If we suck, we suck. If we’re great, we’re great. No one is filtering, and every voice matters.
- The next person you meet might change your life.
- If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to get things done.
- If Twitter were to go away today, something else would come forward to keep us in the now.
- Be a little vulnerable, and share what is happening in your life.
- There is so much humanity here to be had.
- I always wanted to have a conference and have someone from Rolling Stone there.
- Mapping NY people in an app, seeing them mapped in real time, made him feel connected to the city. Watching the inauguration together on Twitter gave him a similar amazing feeling.
- Appreciates how we are changing Twitter by how we use it.
- Being postmaster was a competitive advantage for Ben Franklin in the news business. He was seeing the mail, so he could watch for stories.
- Media is about serving the community.
- O’Reilly’s early book on UUCP network was written by the community. He wrote the inital 80 pages, and users kept sending him modem scripts. It grew to over 200 pages.
- He uses Twitter to build his community. He will Tweet comments from emails. (“Via email.”)
- The New York Times basically tweets headlines. If he was only tweeting about O’Reilly, he would have to ignore politics and all the world of other interesting topics.
- Add value to the community you are part of. That’s the real secret of social media.
- Passed links have enormous value. Links are currency.
- How we’ll make money on Twitter: links
- That’s how Google makes its money and power.
- And Google still sends way more free traffic than paid.
- Twitter and Facebook combined are set to eclipse Google for traffic referrals to some sites.
- Like on a TV show: characters as talking to each other, but aware that there is an audience. It’s actually a powerful way of marketing; just being yourself, living your product.
- Was there a conference like this about the telephone? or the pencil? Are we getting a little precious about our tools?
- When you walk into a room with 600 people, it’s way more powerful to walk in with a friend who knows some of them and can help you meet people. So make a friend first.
- If you want me to retweet you, make me proud to retweet it. Make it fun to share.
- For God’s sake, don’t retweet your entire stream, saying thank you, thank you, thank you. (I’d love to send this to one particular person who does it all the time!)
- Twitter is our Tower of Babel
- Microsyntax – embedding structured information into the text of Twitter messages: RT, @, #.
- Creating a nonprofit .org around this idea.
- Listen for the point of need. People are are talking about their needs on Twitter more than other sites.
- Every business function in the company that has to do with having a conversation with a customer is touched by Twitter. How do you measure all that ROI?
- It’s all about relationships, so what’s the ROI on a hug?
- Twitter fits into our brand of delivering joy.
Maegan Carberry (@maegancarberry) – Blogger, Huffington Post // CauseCast // Lifehack; co-host Variety’s Wilshire and Washington, Managing Editor, truuconfessions.com
Politics: possibilities of bipartisanship and/or post-partisanship on Twitter
- In the 1990’s, she felt disconnected and depressed about politics.
- Changing your avatar and other Twitter actions is part time activism. “I’d take a whole bunch of part-time activists over a whole bunch of people who feel disconnected and despressed about political issues.”
- How much are you retweeting, and how much original thought are you contributing?
- We need to stop reporting the news how America sees it. Let citizens report it.
- News judgment is changing away from USA-centered because we all have world connections.
- It’s not changing fast enough.
- People are people whether in Iran or US.
- Challenge of conveying good info accurately for news in such short form.
- At the core of what digital journalism needs to be engagement.
- Links delivered by people who have knowledge of a topic have cache. The Link Economy.
- Then that means Twitter is the Super Fuel of the Link Economy.
- Old media was product handed down to people you don’t know and really don’t care about.
- It has to become a process that engages its audience at every single level.
- You can get the audience involved, get suggestions, at the idea stage.
- For the middle of the process, where you do your basic reporting as a journalist. Lots of people will tell you that what journalists do is a secret, proprietary, and can’t be shared, or the competitors will swoop in and beat you to the story. That’s bull. Probably 80% of journalism can be open sourced.
- For the How Social Media Will Change Your Business story, used blog and twitter to invite audience to tell him how the previous story (5 year old story on blogs) was completely out of date, posted comments and old story online, and generated discussion. Ultimately created a much richer story.
- Journalism is transformed from a product to a process.
- More than that, it’s about opening up what has been a secretive process of news reporting to users and readers and collaborators.
- New Wall Street Journal guidelines prohibit sharing what stories you are working on.
- Part of problem with revealing stories you are working on is 1) competitive threat 2) potential for corporations or individuals being interviewed to get cold feet. (I missed writing this one down, but it was tweeted by @aaronstrout.)
- Ultimately, this is about letting people discover what you think is your best stuff, and even sharing what you think are the best things from your competitors.
- Driving traffic is not the primary purpose of why I’m on Twitter.
- There is no magic bullet; there is a machine gun loaded with bullets that we are going to have to deploy to succeed in the future.
- Publishers have started being people who have money to invest in product that they think will work. Why not make news work like that? Larger organizations give a budget to the small teams who have the interest and idea to report in a new way.
- Journalists could stop telling the news and start telling stories again.
- Al Jazeera includes Arabic, English, documentary, eleven sports, and children’s channels, research and study and training centers.
- Focused toward the middle east region.
- “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” and the corollary, “If it doesn’t fit in 140 characters, its not worth saying.”
- Their web team was initially not for creating a Twitter stream page from Gaza, but it turned out to be the fourth most viewed page.
- Taking questions via Twitter does help weed out the irrelevant, and makes questioners get to the point.
- The cross section that you get with Twitter is not the average person.
- Telling the truth is hard. Not telling it is even harder.
- Flew 16 hours from Doha to speak for 10 minutes.
- What is your Global MicroBrand? Do a Venn Diagram with your three passions. His are Marketing, Community, Technology.
- Only follows 140 people, experts in his passion fields.
- Filter and optimize who you follow. He looks for quality, no overtweeters, and a high signal to noise ratio.
- You read everything they say, you earn the right to gain some of their time/deeper engagement. You build real relationships.
- Requested a tweet of his points – but he won’t follow people who overtweet, so we can’t tweet it for him. :D
- People are getting more stratified in their listening habits.
- Crowdsourcing kills art. People have terrible taste. The result is what rises to the middle.
- After more than 400 record reviews, I can say that there is enough room in 140 characters not only to elaborate but also for good writing.
- What’s the ROI on Twitter? Well, what’s the ROI on ignoring customers?
- Understand what your company voice is going to be.
- Grow a thick skin. It’s a culture shift. You will not have control over it anymore.
Kevin Slavin – founder area/code
Things that twitter
- Likes to create games that blend some aspect of the real world into the game.
- Shark trackers – blend online players as ships with real GPS data from actual sharks.
- Created a game played in New York City with people being pursued by invisible GPS character.
- Some unusal things creating data tweets: Plants (water me), shoes (ran 2.3 miles), washers (2 dryers available), ovens (turnovers coming out fresh), taco trucks (where we are), Space Shuttle Endeavor, London’s Tower Bridge (going up), the River Thames (high tide will be at 6 feet in two hours)
- Should you think before you tweet? Yes! People take things too twiteral on Twitter!
- Tells knock knock jokes to his followers. Plays games with them.
- Communities online don’t usually last more than 5 years.
- Second Life was online marketing’s Vietnam.
- Next is the open web, where social just fits in every website.
- 40% of the books produced end up pulped.
- 9 out of 10 books don’t make back their advance.
- Going to 50-50% profit share. Not tricky, just a simple way to make it a partnership. Signed 10 book deal with Gary Vaynerchuk. She saw him speak, and knew he had the magic.
- Memoir writing is not about me, the person writing the book. It’s about the people who can understand the situation that I have been in.
- I have been very careful about who I followed and who followed me, because it’s very time consuming for me. I have met the most wonderful people, readers of fiction, authors. For me, it’s a sign of hope.
- Authors fail on Twitter with too much self promotion and not enough community. Too many events announcements.
- A problem among the 6 conglomerates in NY translates to an industry wide crisis. (He added later on Twitter,”Don’t forget: the problems of 6 publishers = industry crisis ONLY to a reductuve financial media.” and “Now is a fantatsic time for small publishers to jump in and set the new standards of success.”)
- Memoirs are popular because people talk about themselves. Those are the kinds of things we are interested, passionate about.
Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) – President, New Marking Labs
Julien Smith (@julien)
Twitter and Trust Agents
Jeff Pulver introduced Chris, saying not enough people know who he is, even though he is one of the best known people in the Twitter community. Jeff is dead serious about reaching outside the closed community.
- Julien: you can’t copy someone else and expect the same result.
- Julien: Trust Agents are the individuals who are humanizing the group.
- Chris: GM covered their own bankruptcy on Twitter, in two languages.
- Julien knew someone who would take 20 minutes to plan out a tweet. As RT’s and passed links grow in importance, perfection in copywriting grows in importance. Communicating on the internet is skillset to be learned.
- Julien: Intimacy seems to trump everything in a trust relationship. All things being equal or not equal, you want to do business with people you like.
- Chris: After first PodCamp, he and Chris Penn sat there, miserable and tired, and had to watch the What Sucked About PodCamp video. (But it was the start of a movement. I thought of this story when a few folks trashed the 140conf. We’ll see who starts a movement, the critics or Jeff Pulver.)
Aaron Strout (@AaronStrout) – CMO, Powered, Inc.
Brian Morrissey (@bmorrissey) – Digital Editor at Adweek
David Berkowitz (@dberkowitz) – Emerging Media Director, 360i
Hadley Stern (@hadleystern) – Vice-President, Fidelity Labs
Peter Fasano (@pfasano) – Principal/Lead Catalyst, Mass+Logic
Twitter as GPS for the Greater Social Media Mesh
- Brian: brands are going to want to move into demand generation, not just demand fulfillment.
- Peter: auto responses to every mention of a keyword mention don’t matter. But context and passion does matter.
- Brian: Don’t always be selling.
- David: (haiku) Twitter GPS/Once you turn on the tweetstream/You can’t part with it.
- Peter wants to know how do you manage your dashboard? What are you doing?
- Hadley asks, if it’s not Twitter, what is the sea change in social media?
I gave Aaron Strout the award for Best Moderator at the conference for this panel. He asked questions, shaped the discussion, gave his panelists a chance to shine, and didn’t try to overwhelm them.
- Publishing: a tiny industry perched atop a massive hobby.
- Twitter will not save publishing. And Publishing should not be saved.
- Clearly Twitter is rather good at bringing people together.
- Publishing is a very old-school process. Lots of silos. She worked a lot of years as a publicist, and didn’t know anyone who worked in a bookstore.
- When do I do my real job?? When was caring not a real job?
- Social media, I actually prefer to call it “business.” (@TatsuyaNakagawa added on Twitter, “or just ‘marketing.'”)
- What will help Haiti develop? Education is important, but JOBS. Until you bring business and investment, you will always have a group of kids who are sick.
- I feel like I’m in the Jetsons. Everyone in front of me has a computer.
- If you want to make money, come up with a good idea, provide a good product and good service, and then use the tools that are right for you to reach the right people.
- We are measuring small business success by big business standards. The right 15 followers may be much better than 1500 for a small business. (I applauded this one!)
- I’ve never met a small business owner who I don’t think should be on Twitter.
- Benchmark your business against other small businesses.
- Use it as an ESP tool: predict the future for your industry, your peers, etc.
- How do you convince clients to buy into twitter? Part of it is storytelling, stories they can relate to.
What? You still want more? Aaron Strout did some live blogging at 140 Character Conference, and he caught some panels I missed.
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