• 19 Nov
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    Chris BrainPOP @ The 140 conference


    A few days ago we received a tweet from @digitalmaverick inviting us to the 140 Character conference http://bit.ly/kHE7X as his guest.

    We use Twitter and social media channels all the time to talk to teachers. And we do love it so.

    So we said: @digitalmaverick 140 times yes! Thanks so much for inviting us. We’d be intrigued and excited to attend.

    This is brand new type of conference about social media, the tools that are turning our understanding of communication on its head.

    The conference was marketed as “Real-Time Internet / State of “NOW”. How could we resist?

    Twitter defines itself by limiting what you can say to 140 characters, including all spaces and punctuation.

    Hence the conference name and its hash tag: #140conf. Then you can search for the keyword “#140conf” to hear what’s going on, live.

    So I turned up at the O2 arena (never seen it before – what an incredible and space distorting structure!) in my Moby T-shirt. Natch.

    @jeffpulver, the organiser and visionary, opened with passionate and fascinating keynote about the way we consume and create media.

    @jeffpulver “Listen. Connect. Share. Engage” << love it!

    You can see an Open University interview of Jeff here and it’s well worth a watch: http://bit.ly/KX2vx

    Then a star turn by @stephenfry who cogitated on the nature of celebrity tweeting, & the power of a million followers.

    He called himself a “Twillionaire” 😉 The first of lots of Twitter related jargon we were to hear that day.

    @stephenfry also exhorted us to remember that Twitter was called Twitter for a reason. It’s about people, not technology.

    What followed was stream of expert panels and keynote speakers. I’ll highlight those I personally found interesting.

    I particularly enjoyed @JeffreyHayzlett, the CMO for Kodak, who is blending real time comms & crowd sourcing to shape products.

    The Twitter and Small Business panel struck a cord. Small businesses (like us) benefit from the opportunities social media grants us.

    Because we can make customers feel *personally* looked after. That’s a struggle for large companies.

    The Twitter music panel was also an eye opener, as it had a DJ, musician, digital marketing exec from Warner and a Producer.

    They told interesting tales about an industry in flux. They were also, by far, the grooviest panel yet 😉

    PS: Follow @mannynorte , the Kiss FM DJ, if you want to know someone who knows Jay Z and Beyonce.

    JP Rangaswami (@jobsworth) the Chief Scientist at BT told us how his Twitter following helped him find his daughters missing gerbil.

    This is where twitter really works. Not when it’s used as a broadcast tool, but as a participation tool. Please RT!

    Josie Fraser (@josiefraser) a Social & Educational Technologist focused on the Re-Tweet (someone “re” tweets your tweet to their network).

    RT @BrainPOP_UK Josie Fraser, a Social & Educational Technologist focused on the Re-Tweet (someone “re” tweets your tweet to their network)

    The “Police who Tweet” panel was eye opening as it seems that civic bodies are on board with social media and woken up to listening!

    The panel I was holding out for was the Education panel. For obvious reasons…

    The Education panel at the 140 Charcter conference


    David White (@daveowhite),Drew Buddie (@digitalmaverick), James Clay (@jamesclay),Shirley Williams (@shirleyearley) & Sue Black (@Dr_Black)

    What was apparent was that they had formed (or enhanced) friendships via Twitter. If not, maybe it was just shared joy of teacherhood ;-).

    Immediately, as Teachers are trained to do, they involved the audience. It did feel up to this point, that the audience were rather passive observers.

    They turned that on its head. @jamesclay – you were particularly disruptive and it was a pleasure to see 😉

    The main issue was “How can tools like twitter be used in learning?”.

    It seemed the challenge wasn’t teaching the tool, but teaching the behaviours; how to gain from digital social comms, safely & wisely.

    So was attending #140conf worth it?

    Downsides: No Twitterfall (http://bit.ly/Wghue), no wifi & slightly passive nature of the event.

    Upsides: The ideas and passion were clear. There was also lots of intelligent and exciting debate. An important event.

    Social media is the future. Whether we like or not. The door has been opened to freedom of expression, global community and real time media.

    Thanks for the authenticity, @jeffpulver and @digitalmaverick for his inclusion and generosity. Both of you are worth following.

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