Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Live Blogging the 140 Character Conference

Photo credit: Jill Hanner

Sorry, I never gave context for this post. I'm at Jeff Pulver's 140 Character Conference in New York City and am trying to provide some running notes from this action
packed event. Today I'm keeping up. Tomorrow might be tricky (speaking at 9:20 AM and then in meetings on and off after that).

Link to conference agenda is here.

Link to the #140conf hashtag is here.

Tim O'Reilly CEO/founder, O'Reilly Media
  • realized that at times he was tweeting too much so started capturing/formatting his tweets in a text document. Later he would decide whether or not to tweet those updates.

Fred Wilson (venture capitalist/blogger)
  • Links are the currency of the internet.
  • Talking about how to make money from Twitter.
  • Links to blog coming from Facebook and Twitter are starting to eat into Google referrals.
  • One business model for Twitter would mimic the way Overture introduced "paid search"
  • Google currently spends a lot of time on environmental remediation i.e. addressing spam, phishing, etc. Twitter is going need to do the same.
  • Passed links on FB and Twitter are more "trusted" because they come from someone you know - as a result, they have a higher likihood to convert
  • http://tcrn.ch/3y0 (recap by E Schoenfeld)
John Borthwick - Founder of Twitter Search

General thoughts from Liz Strauss and panel with Brian Solis, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Marcel LeBrun, CEO of Radian6 and Brook Lundy of Some eCards

Maegan Carburry - Political Blogger for Huffington Post
  • Recommends reading Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
  • Asks, "are we contributing original thoughts to socialsphere?"

UBER Panel on Twitter as News Gathering Tool
Moderator: Robert Scoble
Ann Curry - anchor of NBC
Rick Sanchez - Host of 3PM Newsroom on CNN
Ryan Osborn - Producer NBC's Today Show

  • Scoble is hammering Rick Sanchez, CNN and press in general for not giving more Iran coverage this weekend.
  • Scoble also asks if we are evolving the coverage mainstream news gives foreign topics because we now "know" some of the people in these countries and they are more human/touchable to us.
  • Rick Sanchez says that social media is pushing CNN to validate whether or not elections were real or not
  • Ann Curry (beautiful voice in real life btw, very melodic and soothing) talks VERY passionately about covering Iran. Said that people there were talking to reporters and people were 1) risking their lives to talk to them and 2) were asking if all Americans thought that they were terrorists. Ann also stressed the importances of reporters now treating people in countries like Darfur, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. like they are your mother, sister, brother.
  • Rick Sanchez/Ryan Osborn said it is tricky because trad'l news is held to standard of "it's got to be right." They are required to do more fact checking.
  • Ann Curry - was doing some real time reporting on Twitter recently because main stream news was covering. Had to be VERY careful to make sure she wasn't passing along any information that was wrong.
  • Audience questions - frustration around mainstream media covering "fluff" pieces vs. hard hitting stuff. [NOTE: in theory, this is great but it's not what most people want to watch]
  • Rick Sanchez says that it's imperative to use Twitter to have conversations with watchers - not to use it as a gimmick.
  • Rick Sanchez notes that if CNN or other news disappears, it takes away a lot of the content that social content creators can talk about.
  • Scoble retorts to Rick, "you DID disappear on Saturday and we got along just fine."
[Side note: had a fantastic conversation with Scoble, Jim Stone (camera man for
NBC) and Ryan Osborn after the panel. They agreed that this is a seminal moment in the history of social media and traditional media.]

Moeed Ahmad - Head of New Media Technology and Future Media Department Technology Division, Al Jazeera Network
  • First off, Moeed notes that he traveled 16 hours to get here. WOW! I will never complain
  • "If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space"
  • "If it doesn't fit in 140 characters, it's not worth saying" - @riy
  • Now talking about Twitter's roll in War 2.0 - cites hashtag use of "#gaza"
  • Interesting because Al Jazeera team was skeptical about use of Twitter at first. Then @Ev tweeted a link to their site and traffic went through the roof. Now they get it. ;)
  • Able to run a page with live tweets with a column next to it that tells whether the news has been verified or not [brilliant idea]
  • Challenges: covering a party that is not popular on Twitter who wins an election (when party that lost IS popular on Twitter)
  • "Telling the truth is hard. Not telling it is even harder." (see poster below)

Jeremy Epstein - Marketing Navigator, Never Stop Marketing
  • Interesting approach to Twitter. Only follows 140 people. Looks for:
    - Experts
    - High signal to noise ratio
    - Constantly looking to earn right to spend more time with people he wants to network with
Jeffrey Hayzlett, CMO of Kodak
  • Twitter is changing Kodak (not your father's Kodak anymore)
  • 60% of people at company are new
  • Looking for new ways to make connections with people
  • Worst thing you could say about Kodak is absolutely nothing.
  • Said people come on their blog and say "your product is f*cking, f*cking, f*cking, f*cking, f*cking not good" is okay because it's feedback.
  • They are listening to their customers - want to make ink cartridges much more interchangeable.
  • Jeff is showing his humorous side - he is currently trying to figure out term for someone that is malicious on Twitter. Crowd consensus is "twanker."
  • Right now, he's calling out a particular competitor that was anonomously posting and taking shots at Kodak. Also expressing desire for Financial Times to be at 140 Character Conference
  • Jeff answers/triages tweets that people send when problems or questions arise. Said that this wasn't possible even a year ago.
  • Big moment for Kodak/Jeff - one of Barack Obama's daughters used a Kodak camera. People started tweeting Jeff like crazy. It trended and made the NY Times.
  • Interesting thought, what is the "cost of ignoring."
For more live tweets from people beyond me during Jeff's session, go here:



  1. Great highlights Aaron. Some really great points in there worth thinking about. I especially like Jeremy Epstein's strategy of only following a core group of valuable sources. Looks like a pretty esteemed group of speakers.

  2. Thanks Aaaron for the great write up! didn't get a chance to attend, but feel like I did! When is the next trip to Boston?


  3. -Don, thanks. While I don't personally subscribe to Jeremy's style of Twitter following, I like his notion of "strategic filtering." If I had a chance to go back and do it all over again, I might think about trying out his approach.

    -Tyson, my pleasure. A more in depth thought piece will be coming soon. RE Boston, nothing on the immediate radar but I'm sure I'll be up there soon enough. ;)

  4. I enjoyed reading this (late catching up on it). FWIW, I'd much rather read a concise wrap up like this than 200 tweets in real time from various conferences. I find myself skipping over those, but I'll take the time to catch up in this format.

  5. Thanks Beau. I aim to please! ;)