Wednesday, April 21, 2010

92nd St Y + 140 characters + 2 days=ROI

Bleary-brained from two days in the frenetic "State of Now" as Jeff Pulver calls his 140 Character Conferences which are unlike any others I've attended, not only because they bring together people from such disparate fields as fashion, music, publishing, real estate and medicine, but because
1. Speakers are limited to too-short-to-be boring 10 minutes, panels to 20 minutes
2. All sessions take place in same room, so by choosing one, you won't miss others
3. It's not a trade show.
The 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.

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

1 comment:

Howie at Sky Pulse Media said...

I watched most of Jeff's opening remarks last night (I was multi-tasking South Park). I love the conference concept and how it runs. But he proved one thing to me. When I tried to come up with uses for 'real time' that trumped regular time stuff that I can see in 10-30 minutes I came up with very few things except political uprisings, disasters, knowing the wait for a table at a restaurant, and possibly winning a prize. He tried to give many reasons that could make one rich but he really didn't hit many more. I was hoping for an epiphany. His analogy for stocks was relevant but trust me all of wall street has Bloomberg terminals that pour data 24/7 and if something happens somewhere the public might not be able to react, but Wall Street already has. And with derivatives often the bets are in way before something happens (like billions are bet months before hurricane season as to whether the Gulf will be hit with hurricanes impacting Oil prices). So if a huge hurricane turns out the real deal...all the money has already been won and lost (Jeff knows this btw).

This doesn't change my view on the evolving inter-connectivity we all have access too changing the way we live, work, and play.

I look forward to watching some of the other posted presentations. I think I might just go to next years if they have one in NY again.