1. Speakers are limited to too-short-to-be boring 10 minutes, panels to 20 minutesThe last is the most remarkable difference to me. No one on stage is out to sell you something. (Well, almost no one.) Vibe is about sharing vision and ideas and concrete examples of how adoption of social communication platforms is actually, in real time, changing the world. All sessions were streamed and available here.
2. All sessions take place in same room, so by choosing one, you won't miss others
3. It's not a trade show.
Ann Curry talked about how twitter saved lives in Haiti, connecting victims with the help they needed in the US. (video)
Jennifer Preston (Social Media editor of NY Times--yes! they have one) talked with newsgatherers about how geo-based platforms (FourSquare, Gowalla) are changing the way reporters get news. (video) Later, founders of those platforms, Dennis Crowley and Josh Williams, discussed surprisingly prevalent use in heavily-censored China. (video)
Comic Book creators from Marvel and elsewhere talked about the excitement of bringing their characters off the page and onto small screens. (video)
Transmedia producer Tish Shute introduced the concept of collaborative Augmented Reality Worlds as easy to contribute to as a Wiki page. (video)
There were plenty of other worthwhile sessions, including ones from media elites David Carr and Joan Walsh and twitter brand names like MC Hammer, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jessica Gottlieb. But perhaps my favorite presentation was by unknown 13 year olds who demonstrated a breakthrough idea in education conceived by their teacher George Haines: they came to appreciate Animal Farm by tweeting the characters. Each took a turn in the classroom channelling Clover, Snowball, Napoleon, Muriel, even Orwell himself and followed barnyard conversation on a twitter list. A simple, replicable idea: combine literature with computer technology to make both more appealing to kids who "thought the book was boring until we started tweeting it." They ended their preso with remix of Lady Gaga's "Brave Romance" ("Boring Class") and got A+ from the crowd--a rare standing ovation. (Vid below)
"Twitter Will Endure" illustration by quickdraw Johnny Goldstein