#140Conf12: Human-shaped, not business-shaped

At my first #140Conf in London in 2010 Stephen Fry explained that twitter was, ‘human-shaped, not business-shaped.’  I’ve yet to find a better description to describe Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference events.

There are very few established ‘experts’ – and the ones that are are not of the self-appointed variety.  There are no lectures, no how-tos, no vendor pitches… there’s no ‘this is what I did – you should do it too…’ and there’s no simmering rivalry between the presenters [otherwise known as characters].  140 Conferences are about honesty, humanity and real stories of how social media has contributed to changing lives and about search for meaning from the real-time Internet.

There’s always lots of laughs; no shortage of hugs – rather than handshakes; and they re’s raw emotion – and sometimes tears; but what strikes me most is that 140 Conference events are about community.  There’s a sense of shared purpose amongst #140Conf attendees – they are there to find ways to use the real-time internet to make the world a better place.

I’ll post more about my specific experiences of this year’s event in the coming days, but as I decompress from the last three days in New York it strikes me that what defines 140 Conferences are the moments of shared humanity. They are opportunities to look beyond the digital souls of our online community and know that we’re not alone in wanting to make the world a better place.  I can’t think of a better testimony to both the value of the real-time Internet and The 140 Conference – can you?

Social Media – Finding Meaning from the Real Time Web [Part 1]

As a child I always looked forward to Christmas Eve because I knew that something amazing was going to happen.  As I write this post I can feel that same sense of excitement. Tonight is actually the night before the night before Christmas, but tomorrow I fly to New York City for #140ConfNYC, now known as The State of Now and I just know that it’s going to be an amazing few days.

The two-day event, organized by Jeff Pulver, isn’t like any other social media event I’ve been to because it’s not about self-appointed experts telling the audience how they should, or should not use social media to improve their lives.  It’s about people with stories to tell sharing their experiences.  Sometimes they are positive experiences; sometimes they’re not. What is guaranteed is that there are lessons that everybody can apply to how they use social media.

Actually, I’m resolved not to call it social media any more – I think the term Realtime Internet is a far more appropriate and accurate description.  If you have the chance during Tuesday or Wednesday this week to tune in I’d thoroughly recommend you take some time and attend the event.  Failing that you can watch a session or two via the live stream.

At a time when businesses are trying to figure out how the real-time Internet can benefit their organization you’ll not have a better opportunity than during The State of Now.