June 15, 2009

What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 8)

Filed under: #140tc,SmokeJumper Strategy,Twitter — @smokejumper @ 12:21 am
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View this blog post “What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference (part 8)” on my new blog site at

“Twitter will transform conferences and events.”
Brent Harrison (@smokejumper)

One of the unexpected findings from the recent 140 | The Twitter Conference was how Twitter was used before, during and after the event by conference organizers, speakers, panelists and participants.  Given how positive my experience was, it made me think how and why Twitter will transform conferences and meetings.

  1. Connect with people before the event. This had less to do with Twitter and more to do with Pathable.  Based on my user profile and tags, I was “matched” with other conference participants with whom I shared similar interests.  So instead of heading to a conference where I knew no one, there were already several people I wanted to meet and was able to connect with.Brent Harrison's Pathable Profile
  2. Some crowds really are wise. At first glance upon walking into a room filled with several hundred people hunkered over their computers typing away, it would seem to be a group that was both anti-social and highly distracted.  Turns out this was far from the truth.  By inserting the hashtag “#140tc” into their tweets, conference participants could share their thoughts and reactions with others immediately.  The sharing and learning that resulted was not limited to a speaker talking at the crowd or panelists talking amongst themselves.
  3. Engagement far and wide. By watching the conference tweets sorted by #140tc, others from around the world were able to get a sense of what was going on at the conference.  Further there was active relaying of questions from those not present to the audience and, in some cases, to the panelists.  This was far more interactive and powerful than any video stream or blogger attempting to blog real-time at a conference.#140tc Tweet Stream
  4. Panelists beware! For the speakers and panelists that were insightful, they benefitted from immediate tweeting of their quotes and commentary and reaction by the audience.  For the speakers and panelists that were not as captivating or interesting, I found myself paying more attention to the tweets of the others in the conference hall – they were often as interesting as the formal conference speakers.
  5. Involvement of the audience. As an introvert, I find it hard to stand up in front of 300 strangers with microphone and ask a question.  By day 2 of the conference, the organizers were streaming the #140tc stream on a large wall adjacent the stage.  The whole room could now see reactions, feedback and questions from the audience real-time and the more astute panelists could actually respond and tailor their comments accordingly.

I rarely attend conferences (or not nearly as much as I’d like to) but I will make a point of attending another conference that utilizes Twitter and involves the conference participants in such intelligent and impactful ways.

I’m done (finally) . . . more (on non-140 | The Twitter Conference topics) later.

  1. The Power of Presence. Insights from Alex Payne, Twitter API Lead.
  2. I am a Twitter God(ess) and So Can You! The View From Twitter Stardom with @ijustine, @missrogue and @davepeck.
  3. Don’t Take the Drive to Manic Feature Explosion. What Makes a Good Twitter App.
  4. Twitter business start-ups are combination socialist and radical markets.   Twitter Strategies:  Real-World Success Stories.
  5. WTF, No Twitter TV!? Direction from Anamitra Banerji, Twitter Product Management.
  6. Even with a simple hash tag, there is a learning curve. Soren MacBeth, Co-Founder / CEO of StockTwits.
  7. You can’t own social media. You can only interact with it. Corporate Use of Twitter by @JetBlue.
  8. Twitter will transform conferences & events. Surprising takeaways from an in-person Twitter conference experience.