I should be tired from two whirlwind days in NYC at the 140 Character Conference on Twitter, but so much is running through my head, I am all fired up. I have pages and pages of notes, but half of what I wanted to write, I don’t have to! You could literally follow the whole thing on Twitter by searching for #140conf !
Everyone at #140conf was Tweeting like mad!
Overall, it was really really good. While I am a self proclaimed adoption conference junkie, I have not done a Tech conference yet. Oddly enough, I head back to New York for the OMMA Social conference in NY in less than a week! So I might be more of an expert next week, for a Tech conf, this time, I was a newbie.. though NOT a newbie on Twitter! I did find it kind of interesting that some of the folks who were on panels really, based on my timeline, were; though I am not holding that against anyone at all! This is the year that Twitter has exploded.
The morning of the first day was very energizing.
Everyone seemed to speak of the power of Twitter and that was very inspirational.
I was personally blown away by Journalist Ann Curry who had just a great manner and her philosophy of ethical Tweeting was to be commended. She is way more than “just a pretty face” and had the patience of a saint as some other newscasters were in the habit of speaking over her. The discussion on the CNN failings of covering the situation in Tehran was very powerful. Unfortunately, she was gone before I could personally tell her, but I loved that she believed in the Truth, with a capital T. I really resonated with that.
Some of the discussing, I did find myself conflicted about however. There was great emphasis on being real, making connections and building communities, all things, for the records, I do strongly believe in, but as a marketer, who manages like 30 separate and branded Twitter accounts, the general feeling I got was that the business end was sort of looked down on. In fact, by the end of the two days, I was proudly calling myself a professional Twanker, a name coined there by JeffreyHayzlett of Kodak. It was basically a funny term for the people who DO Tweet badly: spam, stupid stuff, etc. While, I took the name on, I don’t think it fits at all, because I did begin this all as part of a very strong online community, the adoption community. Plus personally I am a very ethical blogger, so I take all the internet etiquette I know and bring it to our work here with our clients. What seemed to be missing sometimes was that one could be authentic and ethical and real and still be very branded for a client with the purpose of driving traffic and making sales. I m proud of the work we do and while I personally did not feel dismissed, the concept of our social media work at DragonSearch did in theory.
Other things were sort of odd at times:
Like the idea that it is Twitter that allows people to connect on that personal level.
I guess maybe Twitter has made it easier for many people, but that is something I have been mulling about for sometime previously. To me, the beauty of the internet in general has always been that it lets you find and reach out to people who you might never have known about previously. Back in the day, there was too that true anonymity online. People recreated themselves and their internet personality was far removed from who they were in real life and there was a freedom to say whatever, to be whomever, to not have to be accountable. I think that help create so much interaction at first, but things have changed. Now we really ARE who we are online and we are totally accountable and traceable and it is part of our real life. Way before I knew what I was really doing and way before “social media” I was actually branding myself and making sure that who I was online in adoptionland was connectable because I wanted to be found. It was always part of my internal workings to never write anything that I felt I had to hide and to be 100% real and truthful and never to delete anything.
What I have seen in the “tech” areas, as people online have become real, are the rise of the internet GODS.. who people have worshiped from afar and almost built walls around. There gets to be that weird fear that puts other people on pedestals and then one becomes afraid to reach out to them as if we forget that they are people too and our own self esteem takes a weird nose dive and we things: “They don’t care about little old me, he is so much more important!”. I think I felt that way a long, long time ago with adoption people, but I have been over that for so long.
I guess maybe people forgot that they could connect before Twitter?
I never unconnected, so I found it hard to relate to as if Twitter was this thing that changed it all. Not for me. It’s a great tool, but it did not reinvent my wheel and since it has always been like that for me, I carry that over to DragonSearch which is supported by the company’s belief in best practices ALWAYS! For me, that amazement was a hard bandwagon to jump onto. I feel real and authentic when I am twittering for a client. Maybe it is a belief in what we do, maybe it is a belief in the power of the internet overall, maybe it is that I am a closet actress, but when I comment and tweet as DivaDiscount, I AM Diva Discount and she is me.
There was talk of Twitter bring intimacy online and people discussing personal and vulnerable sharing.
Again, that was nothing new. My overall feeling was that no one in the land of tech knew anything about the adoption community! You want to talk about reveling and being vulnerable? Most adoption folks I know online, including myself, are so open that I think we would have blown the whole conference away! What was missing, especially I though from the Mommy Blogger panel, was the discussion of validation. I know I am open and share so much to both process my own feelings, but also because it does validate the same feelings for other people. I know because I frequently get either comments or emails based on my personal blog posts thanking me for helping other moms like me feel “normal”. Yes, being a stay at home mommy is boring and mentally draining. Yes, you want to make money have friends you can relate to, but blogging can be really much deeper than that.
Part of that concept, and conflict, also was tied into the power of Twitter.
The ideal was put forth that Twitter, alone, made every voice count and every person could be heard. Again, I have to say, no, it isn’t just Twitter. I found that power online a long time ago. Comments allow that to happen on news sites. Forums let those discussions evolve. Blogs have made everyone who has something to say relevant. I KNOW that the internet has the power to change the world because I have seen it, I have felt it, I have been part of it. And yes, it is incredible, but it’s not just Twitter..it’s the WHOLE THING. Yes, I agree that sometimes the most powerful changes happen on a true one to one level as we allow ourselves to truly touch another human being and be connected and I am not putting down a tool like Twitter that obviously helps others do that in a new and easier way, but it’s the same wheel, it’s the same connection, it’s the same changes.
There was finally, on the second day, discussion on the actual act if branding and using Twitter for business and promotion.
Sometimes, there was still a small nagging feeling that the “right” way to Tweet was not as free as I feel it is. With so many different accounts to manage, and with so many different industries and client needs, I know that what works for one client and their market is different than what works for another. Some of the things that were seemingly “bad” at #140conf, I know work for certain markets and are desired Tweets by the people who choose to follow that brand! In the end I feel that the work we do in Social Media and on Twitter was validated by hearing what other folks do and I am full of new ideas.
I’m not complaining here, but processing my feelings, which are different than my thoughts.
There was some odd paradoxes and sometimes I did feel overlooked and frustrated, but the whole experience was great and defiantly time well spent. I do have to say though, for the price, I wish I had gotten a T-shirt included or one of those cute string bags. There were no goodies, though the food was great and I applaud that they didn’t kill trees with printed programs.
I have to make sense still of my notes so there will be way more to come; some great new facts and terms for sure! Plus new apps and tools and the very valuable real physical people connections. So stay tuned!
I guess the “Call for Characters” for London and Los Angeles was just announced. I wonder if they would fly a professional, yet authentically ethical and very reveling Twanker out to one of those? I love LA and have never been across the pond, plus I have stuff to say and I do know how to Tweet with the best of them! I know that for sure!