Yesterday I attended Jeff Pulver’s second 140 Character Conference in Tel Aviv. The full day #140conf event brought together a wide variety of people including high-techies, musicians, comedians, artists, fashionistas, military personnel and more, to discuss the Real Time Web and Twitter in Israel. Read more about what went down yesterday at the conference after the jump, and stay tuned for posts about some of the most poignant presentations and issues discussed at the conference.
It is important to note that Pulver’s #140conf is not a Twitter conference, although Twitter seemed to be the focus of most of the presentations here in Israel yesterday. Rather, the conference is designed to discuss the effects of the Real Time Internet on business as well as on humanity. Wikipedia defines the Real Time Web as “a set of technologies and practices which enable users to receive information as soon as it is published by its authors”, or in other words, in real time. Jeff Pulver describes the inspiration behind his #140conf series in the video below.
140 Character Conferences have taken place in cities around the United States, as well as in Tel Aviv. However, #140conf Tel Aviv is unique as it featured a host of Israeli entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, investors, educators and even a presentation by the Israeli Defense Force.
There were twenty-five presentations and over fifty presenters. You can find a full schedule of the event on the #140conf website. I’m going to talk about some of the highlights here, but if anything else on the schedule strikes your fancy feel free to ask about it in the comments or follow the presenters on Twitter. Their Twitter names are available on the schedule. Keep in mind that some of the presenters that aren’t covered here will also be getting their own posts.
The Foodie Panel
Who doesn’t love food? In the Foodie Panel, participants talked about how the Real Time Internet can be used in the culinary world. Yossi Taguri, food lover and CEO and co-founder of Fiddme, a social guide to restaurants, food and friends, dominated the presentation and brought up some very interesting points about food and the Real Time web.
Taguri gave an example of sitting in a restaurant and trying to figure out what to order. He said that if you ask on Twitter or other social networks, “I’m sitting at such and such a restaurant, what should I order?”, that within minutes you will find out through your social graph what the best item on the menu is. Check out Fiddme’s vision in the video below.
IDF In Haiti
One of the most inspiring presentations at the #140conf in Tel Aviv was about how the Israeli Defense Force is using Twitter. IDF Spokesperson Aliza Landes and Shalev Hulio, co-founder of MediAnd, discussed the ways in which the IDF uses Twitter. They are not only using Twitter to share security and news updates with the public, but also used it to find and rescue trapped victims in Haiti after the recent earthquake. Stay tuned for a full post about how the IDF is using Twitter.
Making Serendipity Happen Now
Mel Rosenberg, Dean of Students at Afeka College in Tel Aviv, where the #140conf was hosted, gave an interesting talk about serendipity and the Real Time web. He told a story about how he got in touch with an old school friend only after he wrote a blog post about him.
Rosenberg’s story shows the true potential of the real time web as a discovery platform for things that you may not have even been looking for. And it doesn’t just apply to people. Let’s go out on a limb and say you Tweet about how you just came up with a great new cupcake recipe (OK, food again, guess I’m still stuck on the Foodie panel). Maybe a new cupcake shop opening up in your neighborhood will find your Tweet randomly in a Twitter search for cupcakes and BAM! – you’ve got a new job as a baker!
The real time web has opened up new doors for making coincidental discoveries and I think it’s inspiring to think that an old friend, the next love of your life or a cool new hobby could be right under your nose and you could find it when you’re not even looking.
Twitter + Magic
Israeli Infotainer, Mindreader and Magician Lior Manor performed his first interactive Twitter magic at yesterday’s conference. He asked members of the live audience, as well as viewers watching the live stream, to tweet in card selections and then asked an audience participant to choose one of the tweeted cards. To everyone’s astonishment the chosen card, three of clubs, was the only card placed upside down in Manor’s deck.
After his performance, Manor tweeted that he has more ideas for interactive magic that he hopes to try out soon. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with, as well as whether other magicians will start using Twitter as a part of their own magic tricks.
Twitter + Comedy
Comedians Benji Lovitt and Charley Warady gave a comedy-spattered talk on the funny business and Twitter. Comedy is big business on Twitter, with comedians around the globe tweeting new jokes and making their fans laugh. One of the most interesting points these funny-guys made was that Twitter and the real time web is a great tool for comedians that want to test out their jokes. You used to have to test your jokes out in front of a few live audiences before you knew if they were funny enough to keep in your repertoire. Now, all you have to do is Tweet and use the jokes that get the best response in your live shows.
Twitter and the News
For Israelis, one of the most exciting highlights of yesterday’s conference was a presentation by Channel 10 News anchorman Guy Zohar. Zohar spoke about how he uses Twitter for fact checking. He says that, “In the news, truth is a story that has not been proven false,” and Twitter is a great tool for quickly finding out what is real and what isn’t.
As an example, Zohar provided a YouTube video of a car being hit by a wrecking ball in New York City that currently has over 1.3 million views. Seeing the video, many people thought it was real. According to Zohar, even Channel 2 News in Israel broadcast the video as a real car accident. However, when Zohar put the video on Twitter he quickly learned that it was not real, but rather a scene being shot for an upcoming Will Ferrell movie and he was about to broadcast the truth about the clip.
Twitter has proven to be a great tool for finding out information quickly and checking facts to uncover the reality behind things.
Guy Zohar wasn’t the only Israeli celeb to present at the #140conf. Popular Israeli recording artists Yoni Bloch and Daniel Salomon spoke about Twitter and the music industry, along with radio DJ Boaz Cohen, marketer Nimrod Dweck, music editor Ayelet Yagil and music fan and blogger Penny Barsimantov.
There was some heated discussion about whether or not musicians should put their time and energy into Tweeting. However, by the end of the panel the consensus seemed to be that Twitter is a great way for musicians to become more accessible to their fans and to promote their music. Musicians have to put the effort into promoting themselves through social media if they want to become true stars and Twitter is a great way to spread the word as well as to get good constructive feedback from fans.
Check out Yoni Bloch’s new YouTube music video below.
Growing Up in Real-Time
Have you spoken to any 14-year olds lately? A presentation by Michael Matias, 14-year old son of Yossi Matias, Managing Director at Google’s Israel R&D Center, gave me a glimpse into the lives of the Real Time Web generation that I did not know existed.
Michael says that he spends nearly all of his free time that he isn’t in school or sleeping on the Web, interacting with his friends on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even when he is in school he and his classmates do their work on laptops and he says that at home most of his homework is done via Google Docs. When he was unable to attend class because he was abroad, Michael woke up at four in the morning to study for an upcoming test with his class via web cam. He has tossed books aside in favor of his Kindle and gets all of his information from Wikipedia and other sources on the Web.
What do you think about the fact that youth today relies so heavily on social media and the Web as a source of information? What kind of future do you think is in store for this Real Time generation?
There were many more interesting presentations at yesterday’s #140conf. You will be seeing more in upcoming posts and again, feel free to ask me about any of the presentations you don’t see covered here or follow the presenters on Twitter!