If one word resonated across the inaugural edition of the fast-moving #140cuse conference, it was passion. Sure, the conference of mostly 10-minute presentations at Syracuse University focused on social media and the real-time web, but the passion of presenters and speakers for communicating, for connecting and for humanity came through loud and clear. Some examples:
- George Couros, an education leader at the Parkland School Division in Alberta, discussed “140 Characters of Kindness,” including a heartbreaking story about how many people connected with him when his beloved dog died. Just as relationships are the foundation of good schools, he said, hashtags are the foundation of community on Twitter. “If you think the web’s just a place to ‘look up stuff,’ you’re missing the best part,” the connections, he noted.
- Harrison Kratz, the community manager for the MBA program at the University of North Carolina, said things like the battle against SOPA, Occupy Wall Street and 2008 election provided examples of how to rally people behind causes they believe in. He noted that while leaders are important, without the passion of followers no change is possible.
- Jeff Pulver, founder of the #140conf movement and VoIP pioneer, discussed “Being Vulnerable in the Era of the Real-Time Web.” Noting his passion for ham radio, he said connecting — not technology — is what drives social media. He believes listening, connecting, sharing and engaging are the four most important actions and that emotion is the medium’s truest currency.
- And Amanda Hite of Talent Revolution closed the conference in style, urging attendees to pull together their most passionate advocates to do a one-day focused call to action. She discussed her 30-day lifestyle challenge via social media which picked up an amazing number of participants. She charged everyone at the conference to tweet something they wanted to accomplish with a #bethechange hashtag, and the results were wonderful.
Other topics included building community among cancer survivors, a few different sessions on connecting passionate sports fans, engaging citizens in scientific discovery, music fans across the web bonding over their first concert and how passionate social media users can make a difference any day.
Oh, and I did a session on our 24 Hours in Photos project, which was neat and I’m happy people responded positively to it. But the real news was learning about the amount of passion out there in social media just waiting to connect, and what awesome things are possible when it happens.