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 😉

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: http://www.sarastreeter.com
Site Pattern: ^http://www\.140conf\.com.*
Link Pattern: ^http://twitter.com/\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.

Leadership and Doing it Right

Is there a wrong way to be a leader?  I would argue that there is a wrong way to lead that does more damage to a cause then it helps, one that is centered on an individual who might have a charismatic personality but no ideas and instead relies on suggestions to others of how things ought to be.  What I mean by suggestions is a statement of opinion about the way reality should be, as opposed to ideas which are solution oriented and creative. 
What you might hear from a suggestion-based leader vs. an idea-based leader:
Suggestion-Based Leader Idea-Based Leader The Difference
“That’s your problem” “How would you work this out?” inspire the person to think for themselves
“I want results” “This is how you’re contributing” fit the work into a larger picture
“You need us, so you’ll help us” “Here’s what we have to offer each other” balance of power in relationships
“I’ll talk him into it” “I’ll see what he thinks” listen and reason with people
“We succeed because we work hard” “We succeed because we add value” purpose matters more than effort
Here is how you can become a great(er) leader:
  • Follow through on your idea in your own life first
  • Let your conviction speak through your actions
  • Build your network by seeking out others who inspire you
  • Help somebody
  • Be human like everybody else and let the idea itself take center stage
Great ideas make great leaders, and I am proud to say that in our community of Greater Providence in Rhode Island and nearby Boston there are many people who have taken their inspiration and turned it into action. 
Who do you consider to be a great leader?  Why?