The 140conf Meetup came to Montreal with Jeff Pulver as the organizer and speaker. Overall, I’d say the event was a success and I’m not just saying that because he bought everyone several rounds of drinks!
Jeff is a huge Twitter fan and asked everyone to stand up and present themselves in 140 characters. It was an humourous beginning to an interesting and inspirational talk. He’s a voice-over-IP pioneer and now travels around the world organizing conferences and discusses what’s going on in the world with respect to the digital era. He called the fusion between old media nad new media “now media” and that’s what he focusses on.
Social Media is the New Ham Radio
I must say that I was at attention the entire time he spoke. He gave us some interesting anecdotes about his early days as a ham radio operator and noted that there are many similarities between social media and that dated form of communication. In essence, social media communication is just the modern way to communication as were ham radio users. For example, a ham radio call sign can be seen as the username in today’s standards. As I pointed out my PodCamp talk on social media vs search marketing, humans have an innate need to communicate and will find many methods to do so. Jeff’s talk once again reinforced that point.
His Run-in with the FBI
His talk included a story about how the FBI called him for questioning about his attempts to allow people to make free phone calls (which of course is ridiculous but again reinforces the idea – some would say fact – that the US is a corporatocracy not a democracy – but I digress). Through social media, Jeff says people are able to rediscover humanity. He believes that social media are a true democracy.
Documenting Our Legacy
One very interesting point that I will be sure to share with others was that social media allows us create our own legacy. Ok, there’s nothing new in that statement but I was surprised to hear that the Library of Congress is recording every single tweet. That means that your family’s next generation could go back and see what relatives said years ago.
Jeff used Twitter to influence a key decision to allow an aid plane to land in Haiti and discussed the powerful real-time web on emergency services (911). He said that during the incident, no one could tak to each other but Haiti relief and aid came faster because he was able to communicate in real time.
Overall, it was a very engaging talk. Jeff has clearly given this same talk many times over but that does not detract from the fact that it was good use of my time! If he returns, I recommend meeting up with him.