April's 140 Characters Conference at New York's 92nd street Y ran the gamut. Organizer Jeff Pulver sourced more idealistic twitter users than pragmatists, but there were enough in-betweeners to keep conversations unpredictably entertaining.
Students of eighth grade technology teacher, George Haines, used Twitter to assume identities of different Animal Farm characters. Melinda Emerson parlayed business advice with netiquitte tips. Realtors lauded Twitter for its ability to punch up sales, and Actress/Educator/Activist Angela Shelton tweets to discuss child abuse prevention. Oz Sultan tweets eulogies of deceased friends. Brainiac luminary Jeff Jarvis dropped F bombs on ipod apps while declaring "the future of media is about streams and flows" while New York Times Technology Writer, Nick Bilton's, Twitter experiences became field research for his upcoming book, I Live in the Future: & Here's How It Works.
Themes such as listening, following, crowdsourcing and curating are not new to social media conference goers, but here the intensity gets revved up because each man, woman, or teen has only ten minutes to communicate the sum and total of his/her social media experiences.
My original intention was to find a thematic center of gravity, as I did with my Social Media Week post, but after a certain point, the multiple streams of interactive stipulates and stimuli were registering as noise.
I removed myself from the Twitteratti's huggie ebullience and lunched solo in an effort to obtain clarity. The respite --which almost lasted the duration of my pizza slice-- was just enough time to shake blank the etch-a-sketch. In short, I didn't find a thematic center of gravity.
The conference did seem abuzz with Alon Nir's. "You're the Israeli Wailing Wall guy right?" I asked the guy I assumed to be the source. The exchange that followed was about as problematic as the conferences wi-fi reception.
Alon Nair told me he had met Arianna once in Israel and that he liked her blog and would love it if I would post something about what he was working on. Did he have to Politiku in order to be mentioned in it, though? Yes, he did, he doesn't like haiku. Ah, well.
I tried to show him how to count haiku syllables, and he insisted on swapping the line with the political version of the kigo with the last one. I had to acknowledged that his segments stacked better his way. Actually, he had perfect pitch. He managed to strike the perfect balance of everything I'd hoped to touch upon in a Twitter Politiku...then it was gone. Misplaced while I was reviewing it on the Q train, perhaps? If you happen to find it, let me know. And if I end up finding it --there's a good chance I might-- then I'll post it on my personal blog along with a photo of Alon and me somebody snapped at the conference. That and, of course, my Twitterstream as well.
Ultimately, whether I find it or not is of little consequence. Alon gets thousands of Tweets every month from all around the world. The Tweets are prayers people send for him to place in the Wailing Wall. If someone places a prayer on a piece of paper, folds it up and places it in the Wailing Wall, then it is believed to optimize the odds of his/her wish manifesting in reality.
Tweet Your Prayers is a difficult concept to grasp. Elusive, perhaps, as Alon's misplaced Politiku. While I'm not all that into woo-woo (can't even tolerate Astrology, truthfully) I was really taken by this story because Alon places prayers for anybody who takes the time to tweet them his way. He gets them from all over the world -- even from countries that are hostile to Israel -- and places them in the wall, regardless of the religion or nationality of the person who sent them.
Alon's Politiku was about superseding borders and national boundaries and I know its on a piece of paper I placed somewhere. Just can't remember where, exactly...
Follow Susanna Speier on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Politiku