By: Diane Stirling
Some 40 speakers presenting insights about engaging others through social media addressed an audience of 600+ at last week’s #140cuse Conference, but the reach of the event, viewed worldwide and trending in the United States on Twitter, was far greater.
Speakers, attendees and organizers all had highest enthusiasm for the conference’s content, organization, and presentation. It was the first 140 characters conference conducted at an academic institution, and an official #140 event as hosted through the School of Information Studies’ (iSchool) partnership with #140Conf founder Jeff Pulver.
The day “was about education; a lot of people looking to make a difference; a way to be authentic,” said Anthony Rotolo, Assistant Professor of Practice and Social Media Strategist at the iSchool. “Most of the stories being shared were about what you can do with technology to reach out to others, about people reaching out to follow their passion, reaching out to connect with people. That’s what makes a #140 conference special.”
In addition, #140cuse made an indelible mark on all forms of live and digital communication its first time out, as based on audience participation measurements.
• 15,000 viewers followed live-streamed videos on Ustream
• The #140cuse hashtag trended on Twitter in the U.S. just 20 minutes after the event began, with a total of 13,713 Tweets recorded throughout the day
iSchool Dean Elizabeth Liddy characterized the event “an absolutely, amazing, inspiring day. It’s amazing to think of the numbers of people who will have heard something positive about the conference and the iSchool today,” she enthused. “It was so much of a team effort and of community-building with all groups – alums, students, speakers, practitioners. Everyone’s saying it’s the best conference they’ve ever been to.”
Conference speakers and attendees also had high praise for the student team that planned and staffed the complex event with iSchool support.
Talent Revolution agency head Amanda Hite (@sexythinker) was emphatic. “I go to conferences all over the place, all over the world, and to a lot of social media conferences. And I was super impressed with how super-organized this was. The people were amazing, the content was relevant and with today, and [the organizers] nailed it.”
Hajj Fleming (@hajjflemings), of Brand Camp University, another national-level speaker, also was “really impressed with the students, how refreshing they were and how solidly all the technical pieces worked. The students ran this as though they were professionals doing this for a living. I’m extremely impressed that they did it with such thoroughness and were first-class. That really speaks to the type of programming and leadership here at the school,” he said.
Wegman’s social media team leader and presenter Aaron Thompson (@aaronistic) concurred. He was “just floored with the execution of it; that was incredible. The team went above and beyond expectations.”
140 Conference Founder Jeff Pulver was similarly impressed. “You’ve got an amazing team,” he told the audience. “I’ve never been around so many focus-driven people, smart people who get it. I feel good about the future just seeing you in action. I come here and I’m in awe on so many levels—the people, the feelings; I’m honored to be here and happy to be a friend.”
Lauren Bertolini, a Syracuse University Newhouse School alumna who now works as social media manager for Gawker Media, observed that the event’s debut “was so incredibly positive, and it set a great tone for the day. There was nothing like this when I was here, and it would have been so incredibly valuable,” she said.
Rochester Institute of Technology Lab for Technological Literacy representative Remy DeCausemaker (@remy_d) recognized that 140cuse put the region on the map. “It was a fantastic opportunity for Upstate New York. I’m from the 315 [area code] and I’m always glad to see Central New York doing big things. This is an opportunity to share our story, connect with leaders in social media and what they are doing. I’m honored and thankful that the iSchool would have me as a presenter – I’m a big iSchool fan.”
“It feels great knowing everything went so well; the Wifi was great, the speakers did a great job,” said David Rosen, an iSchool grad student who organized the conference. “Seeing the stats around the world of how many people logged on, there were people watching all over the world through UStream and the web site,” Rosen remarked.
Will there be another #140cuse again next year?
Professor Rotolo suggests that the #140 future is very positive. “From here, we’ve got a lot of opportunities and we are discussing future options. We’ve been building the relationships that would be necessary to take it to the next level.”