You have the mike

I originally attempted to write this as a comment on the New York Observer’s article on 140 Conf but my comment was repeatedly marked as spam as well as my email to the site administrator. Oh well to that.

Picture being at Jeff’s conference at one of the sessions, take Jack Dorsey’s (founder and CEO of Twitter). Jack speaks into the microphone and it expands the reach of his voice from fifteen feet to one hundred feet.

Now take Jack’s microphone and give it the power to record what he says and play it back for anyone to hear for the life of the microphone. Not good enough? Jack, say something to your friend in St. Louis, or to one in Los Angeles or London. Better yet, this microphone is two-way, so Jack’s friend in London can answer him either as a private whisper, or as an equally public broadcast, able to be heard by both friends in LA and St. Louis. How much will Jeff Pulver pay Jack to use that microphone at his conference?

Turns out this microphone is free to use and available to everyone and anyone. What a guy Jack …

When Jeff talks about the State of Now, he’s talking about the movement away from the archives such as the library or the expert and into the age of the device, that broadcasts both ways instantly and globally.

Go ahead. Speak into the mike. Anyone?

140 Conf: or How Twitter is helping me get the most out of a Twitter Conference

I’m attending 140 Characters Conference on July 16-17 where I will learn about the State of Now with 139 other participating characters plus attendees, credentialed media, bloggers, and Jeff Pulver the lead organizer himself.

My strategy to maximize my experience is to do the research ahead of time. Namely, to make excellent use of that ever-so-useful page titled The Characters. But who wants to spend time clicking on all of those icons?

Enter Firefox add-ons. Sneak Peek and Who Is This Person are making my research much more efficient, and accordingly that much more likely to remain in my memory where it might do some good šŸ˜‰

Sneak Peek creates a hover box over a link with a snippet of the linked page according to three regular expressions defined by the user, as described in this tutorial. I created a “Sneak Peek script” by using the Sneak Peek menu item under Tools after the add-on was installed. My script shows the latest twitter updates of any person on the 140 Characters Conference Page when their icon or twitter url is hovered over.

Here is the Sneak Peek script (all are required fields):
Name: 140 Characters – twitter
Author: Sara Streeter
Author URL:
Site Pattern: ^http://www\.140conf\.com.*
Link Pattern: ^\w+
Peek Pattern: < ol class="statuses" id="timeline" >[^]*?< /ol >

(Hint: don’t insert spaces into the peek pattern ol tags like I did above – WordPress was interpreting the html tags as styling for this post)

Screenshot for Sneak Peek for twitter urls
Screenshot for Sneak Peek for twitter urls

Who Is This Person I found to be a nice supplement to the Twitter previews. This add-on requires no tweaking and allows you to highlight any name and right click, which will give you an option of “Who is this person” with an arrow down to several methods of checking up on a person (Google, Wikipedia, and LinkedIn are most useful to me).

Screenshot of Who Is This Person Firefox Add-on
Screenshot of Who Is This Person Firefox Add-on

There is another Firefox extension LinkedIn Companion which seems to be more of a bookmarking tool, not as applicable to this situation but still useful.

So far, looking through the character bios and tweets, I am amazed at the influence and depth of experience reflected in the attendee list. If each person is summed as a single character, I would say that is of the same genre as the oriental calligraphic character, in which a single collection of strokes conveys a concise and poetic concept, complete unto itself.