I attended my first 140 Character Conference ( #140conf ) in the Hudson Valley this past August. It started by a tweet between @mediasres51 and @abovethestatic51 mentioning the event. I had recently seen some tweets from the Long Island conference, and regrettably hadn’t been able to go, but I had this feeling that it was just something awesome, a “can’t miss”. Therefore, when I saw the one in Hudson Valley, I immediately took note and started the plan to head down. Wasn’t sure how far it was, or how to get there, but it didn’t matter : I wanted to be there.

At work, people did not really understand why I was going. Social Media is not something most people understand fully yet. I myself was guilty of this about a year or so ago. It was only when I bought my latest Android phone that I  really started to see the dynamic of Twitter, and Facebook streaming on the apps that I then thought, wait a minute – there’s something here.

As I read online blogs, I started adding my favorite authors to my twitter feed, and from there everything started to expand. I started researching blogging, then I started blogging for my company, which led to engaging with people online. Somewhere along the way, I joined the conversation, and the best way I can put it is that all of a sudden it was like I had discovered a whole new world, curated by me to include people and things of interest – in my case – a very positive world, something powerful, and people who were being the change every day.

Shortly afterwards, the idea came up from my now dear friend @littleanimation51 to do a Tweetup.  Inspired perhaps by what I had shared from the #140conf Long Island, I took the chance to go out there and meet some of my “Twitter Peeps” In real life (IRL) at a local tweetup that we threw together in July. @Womenonthefence blogged about it, and if you want to share the fun, here’s my flickr album .  I loved meeting everyone in person.

Then later the same month, as destiny would have it (yes I said destiny – because I feel that strongly about the amazing relationships forming from these meetups) another Tweetup this time with my #UsGuys friends. This happened because my friend @997Dave sent me a tweet, next thing you know we were having a spectacular weekend full of fun, sharing and building- yes building…building of ideas, friendships, and more.Again an amazing occasion: #UsGuysMontreal Tweetup (<<and you might want to check out that link because I was “animated” 😀 ).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6CC0orKgUs?rel=0&hd=1&w=640&h=360] Video from #USGuysMTL – so much positive energy.

This then led to a meetup with the Dragons: @RicDragon52 and @JenWDragon41 where I couldn’t have had a more wonderful time. Made some very dear friends in them, and again, I was astounded by the kindness and the synergy with these incredible people. As luck would have it, I didn’t even fully realize it much before meeting them, but it was their company DragonSearch who was hosting the #140confHV. Amazing!

So, at work when people ask me why I went to the conference, or what I am doing online, even when I answer – amazingly my enthusiasm and passion about all the wonderful things I have learned and all the great people that I have met actually alienates them more!

The Gap

Slowly, it seems, the gap between those who get it and those who don’t widens. I think of this, and I think this is such a shame – why doesn’t everyone just jump in here, its an amazing “place”. If only there was an opportunity…

Enter #140Conf:  The opportunity to see what real people are doing using Social Media as a tool to connect, and the incredible value it gives when you share a message – the human experience.

My First #140Conf – Hudson Valley – The Journey Begins…

I took a few days off work and headed down to the conference. I did not really know what to expect, but I will say I knew it was going to be awesome. It was a day full of amazing presentations by people who were sharing how they used Social Media to make a difference, expand their business, expand their reach.

Some discussions were based on sharing personal experiences, there were corporate perspectives and small business perspectives – but at the end of the day, what you could take away from it all was the importance of making those connections, and the wonder of how Social Media, with its alienating name, is really just about people.

There was so much positive energy, and there were so many inspiring people –  all I could think was : imagine if everyone in the world could see this, be willing to see this. To see the change that happens, the collaborations that occur, the energy that spreads – the results you can have when everyone is just communicating, thinking and open. As @JeffPulver73 , founder of the #140Conf experience heads it “Exploring the State of Now”.

In the corridor, after the presentations I was speaking with some of the speakers, among   them, @ArtJones46, @DinoDogan24 and his lovely Evelyn,  also my super #UsGuys friends @LewisPoretz60 @PaulBiedermann53 . We were talking about many things, then the subject of Montreal came up. I said, “I would love to see something like this happen in Montreal” and I was so delighted when they agreed.

We need to spread this energy, we need to show people – individuals, community groups, and businesses alike, the magic of engagement. Using social for good – for connection – for true communication.

I reflected back on my days working in Montreal for non-profit organizations, imagine if things had been like this then. I look at what @JenWDragon and @997Dave10 have done in their communities by sharing with Social Media, and I feel so strongly this message needs to be shared with communities everywhere.

There are people out there, who don’t understand Social Media, who have not yet seen the magic that happens. Logging into a Twitter account, or signing up for Facebook doesn’t share this power, what does is learning from each other.

I started to work on the idea of Montreal, research the possibilities…

In the meantime, I was fortunate to have the chance to virtually participate in #140confONT. What a brilliant list of speakers, incredibly diverse and engaging. I was so thankful to be able to attend virtually. I got a sense of this angle of participation, and met some incredible new inspiring friends.

Convinced more than ever of the magic and change #140conf’s inspired,

in May 2012, let’s bring The Power of Now to Montreal.

With all the interest generated and inquiries for a #140ConfMTL since the last two 140 Conferences, I know we will have amazing engaging speakers.  We will livestream broadcast in English and French – reaching more of the world’s community. We will spread the energy and more people will get it.

We will make magic using the power of  now. Isn’t that what the 140 Conferences is all about?

Bridging the Gap

Jeff Pulver asked in a tweet if we could summarize what #140conf means to us. This post started as my answer, and in essence what I would say is:

As humans we need to connect, to share. This is an opportunity to share our experiences in Social Media using tools (Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, G+, etc.) to reach out, and “make our footprint on the world”. One presenter, one story, one person, at a time.

When we connect, anything is possible. These local conferences give everyone a chance to make that connection on a human level so that we can use The Power of Now to be the change.

Bridging the gap and showing how by using technology we are actually sharing the human experience more deeply than ever before.

Jeff Pulver, please consider this my deep thanks for your vision in founding this inspiring event, and my proposal to organize Montreal 2012!

Let’s join together in spreading The Power of Now!

Watch archived #140conf videos here & archived #140confHV videos here.

You can view some of my #140conf Tweet highlights on my Twylah Page here