By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

After almost a year of preparation followed by layers of last-minute preparations, #140cuse is about to launch at Syracuse University. The event represents the first time that a 140 Characters conference has been presented on a college campus.

The officially branded “State Of Now” conference takes place all day on Thursday, April 19 at the Schine Student Center underground. Details about the conference, its array of social media expert, student, and practitioner speakers, and the days’ schedule of events are listed at:

“We have speakers and sponsors from all across the country, which is really wonderful. It’s turning out to be an amazing event,” said David Rosen, a graduate student in Information Management at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University. Rosen has organized the entire conference, along with a team of iSchool staff, student, and faculty helpers.  “It’s a lot to bring together, but it’s going to be amazing,” he said.

Speakers appear in 10-minute slots throughout the day, as per the original 140 Conference format. Among the more recognized presenters from news, entertainment, government, and business sectors, are:

–    Alexis Ohanian, entrepreneur and co-founder of Reddit and Hipmunk
–    Tim Pool, citizen journalist and web broadcaster from the Occupy Wall Street movement
–    Josh Lukin, director of
–    Beth Beck, Operations Outreach Manager at NASA
–    Lauren Bertolini, of Gawker Media
–    Jeff Pulver, founder of the 140 characters conference.

Panels of Syracuse University-affiliated startup entrepreneurs and other presenter panels also are scheduled to appear. The complete list of speakers is at:

The conference promises a fast pace of information, with most individuals speaking in 10-minute slots and panel discussions taking place in 15-20 minutes. The rapid-style format and the wide range of topics allows as many people as possible to share their thoughts and engage in conversation with attendees.

How does a graduate student come to organize a major social media industry conference?

David was asked to spearhead the effort “on the spot” last June at the 140 Conference in New York, after the idea to host such an event at the iSchool came to Dean Elizabeth Liddy. She, Rosen, and Social Media Professor and iSchool Social Media Strategist Anthony Rotolo were meeting with 140 Conference founder Jeff Pulver at the time.

“I said ‘Absolutely!’” an enthusiastic Rosen recalled. Initially, David said, he didn’t think the event would be that much work.  As an undergrad, he had managed logistics for SU’s Relay for Life for the past four years, and was familiar with what events work entails.

That was before #140cuse grew in scope and breadth to include an array of peripheral activities, however.  The iSchool’s full 140 program has come to add preview presentations for students at Rochester Institute of Technology and Hamilton College; a plan for live-streaming video that involves coordinating a five-camera crew; technology logistics involving coordination of a 14-computer deck; and the enhancement of #140challenge, an iSchool competition where four current iSchool students competed for a presentation slot at #140cuse. The school also will be live-tweeting highlights of speaker talks, to allow a widespread audience to follow events on Twitter at the hashtag, #140cuse.

While the work of managing a large, multi-faceted event has become a full-time job lately, Rosen says he’s thoroughly enjoying the activity level and the event’s growth. “I originally thought this would be just students attending, but we have lot of community members and people coming in from all over the country to attend; alumni, and people from different schools on campus. It’s really exciting,” David remarked. “And I’m very lucky to be working with amazing people. Everyone I’m working with has been super-super helpful,” he said of the iSchool support team.

That sense of collaboration is what David hopes to foster through his work for #140cuse, as well as in his personal goals after graduation, since he aspires to become a social media manager for a major brand. “140 has this nature where it brings people together. It’s comfortable, and we hope it brings together some of the speakers to build relations with students. We’re hoping people can learn from one another,” he said.

While his efforts this past year have been filled with the myriad details that events organizing entails, including a few blips along the way, David sees his work as having been “a wonderful experience. It’s opened up doors for me communicating with all these speakers and organizations. I’m hoping that it opens up doors for the School as well, showing off what we are and the things we have to offer here, “ he said. “The iSchool is leading the path in social media and I think this will help get our name out there,” David said, believing that cachet will apply to employer recruitment of graduates as well as School recruitment of students.

“A lot of people don’t even know what the iSchool is, and after this, I hope they can see what we are, and the amazing things that go on here. We’re a small school, but we’re a mighty school,” he emphasized.