First #140cuse conference explores power of real-time web

Speakers discussed how Twitter allows people to make connections during the first #140cuse conference in the Schine Student Center.

Students, professionals and social media junkies gathered in the Schine Underground on Thursday to listen, learn and network with one another about the power of social media at Syracuse University's first #140cuse conference.

Hosted by the School of Information Studies, the #140cuse conference brought together more than 50 speakers and 650 attendees from across the country. Speakers ranged from startup techies to corporate executives to Syracuse University students and professors. Their topics varied greatly, but a message of creativity and the power of connection rang consistently throughout.

Photo: Brandon Weight
Deanna Govoni of Cisco speaks about "Social Media and Innovation in the Enterprise" at the #140Cuse conference.

The essence of the event centered around passionate people sharing what makes them tick and how social media allows them to be successful, said student staffers Greg Gordon and Rich Tehan.

The idea to host the conference came up last year at State of NOW, a similar conference held annually in New York City. There, SU’s delegation spoke with the founder, Jeff Pulver.

The goal for SU's conference was to bring together top talent and knowledge in one place for students, said iSchool Communications Director J.D. Ross. “You never know who you’ll meet,” Ross said. “But always be on the look out for the next great idea, and you’ll find it.”

During the event, side chatter was minimal, but clicking was constant. Those not in attendance could follow along by reading the #140cuse stream, which reached 10,000 tweets six hours into the conference. The hash tag was trending nationally throughout the day. Contributors tweeted updates, quotes and arranged to meet up during the networking reception following the conference.

Presentations were capped at ten minutes each to allow for different perspectives and conversations.

Susan Cole, social media editor at Upstate Medical University, emphasized the Internet’s strength as a community-building tool. Cole cautioned its potential to be misleading though, since forums and chatrooms often go without moderation.

“Misinformation is a huge problem in healthcare communication,” Cole said. Without gatekeepers, it’s up to readers to filter through and decide what they deem to be trustworthy, she said.

Chris Becker, student staffer, was particularly inspired, he said, by Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian’s presentation.

Becker said that the greatest value in having a #140 conference is the opportunity to share information and learn from experts and innovators in all types of industries.

Said Becker, “You don’t have to be a tech geek to learn something here.”

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