When I was thinking of a title for a session on Twitter at the Enterprise 2.0 conference next week here in Boston, I, of course, had no idea what would transpire in Iran a few months hence. But here we are, witnessing the power of 140 characters, the energy that can be released with the greatest economy of writing.
Journalists, commentators, bloggers, and tweeters alike are struggling to find the proper analogies for what is going on, even as they pile on far more than 140 characters.
People have turned their Twitter avatars green in support of the protests.
Type "#Iranelection" in the Twitter search bar and endless tweets come up. Just since I started writing this post, 846 more tweets have come up with the same hash (#) sign.
If you're puzzled by many of the words in this post, you're in good company: "I don't know a twitter from a tweeter but I know it's important," said Hillary Clinton, explaining why her State Department asked Twitter not to take down the site for planned maintenance yesterday.
The same kinds of massive outpourings of messages, videos, and posts are finding their ways onto other social networking sites; executives from Facebook, YouTube, and, of course, Twitter suddenly find themselves doing interviews with the top broadcasters, who themselves are struggling to understand what this is all about.
Something is happening and none of us is precisely sure what it is, this "social" (is *that* even the right word anymore?) networking thing.
Which brings me back to my title - and our panel next week at Enterprise 2.0: "How Twitter Changes Everything," on Tues, June 23, at 3:30.
I think it will be unlike any panel those of us on it have ever experienced and we invite all coming to the conference to turn out for this one. Together, we can add our collective intelligence to understand how very short bursts of information can support massive change in "businesses," even the business of statehood. Here's the panel description for the conference:
Nearly impossible to describe without experiencing it (though countless try through analogy), Twitter has soared in popularity. Its 7 [now about] 20 million-and-counting users seem to agree that it facilitates a kind of communication previously unknown, allowing large numbers of people to exchange ideas in extremely short bursts in nearly real-time.
Among its appeals: tiny posts demand succinctness and clarity; you can reach tons of people/colleagues/customers in a second; it's superb in emergencies; communities of vaguely-connected folks can form quickly and naturally around shared interests; you can test ideas through instant polls...the list goes on.
Join this group of dedicated tweeters for a participatory session about how Twitter differs from other social appliances and how your business, organization, practice, and/or communication style can benefit. Come with stories!Moderator - Jessica Lipnack, CEO, NetAgeJessica Lipnack writes, speaks, and consults about collaboration. Co-author of six books, she is an expert on virtual teams, networked organizations, and social media. A long-term member of the Enterprise 2.0 Advisory Board, she stays in touch with a wide network of practitioners and thinkers, including the participants in her sessions.Speaker - Bill Ives, Social Media and Blogger ConsultantBill Ives currently provides consulting services on business blogging and other business uses of social media. He has over 25 years consulting experience in business uses of new media. Led the knowledge management client practice at Accenture. Holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Toronto and did a post-doc at Harvard studying effects of media on cognition. Published over 100 articles on business uses of the web, knowledge management, learning, and psychology Currently co-writing two Corante blogs, FastForward and AppGap, about enterprise 2.0. Writes Portals and KM blog http://billives.typepad.com/portals_and_km/Speaker - Clara Shih, Social Networking Alliances and Products Strategy at salesforce.com and Author, The Facebook Era, salesforce.comClara Shih joined salesforce.com in 2006 and is responsible for Enterprise Social Networking Alliances and Product Strategy. Previously, she was the product line director of AppExchange, salesforce.com's online business applications marketplace, for which she led the development of the Checkout payment services for partner applications. Prior to joining salesforce.com, Clara worked in strategy and business operations at Google and as a software developer at Microsoft. Clara holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science from Stanford University, as well as a Master's Degree in internet studies from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar. Clara is the author of a new book on social networking for business entitled, The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff (Prentice Hall 2009). Clara developed Faceconnector (formerly Faceforce), the first business application on Facebook. Clara twitters as @clarashih and blogs at http://thefacebookera.comSpeaker - Isaac Garcia, Co-Founder and CEO, Central DesktopSpeaker - Patti Anklam, Independent Consultant, Net WorkAs co-founder and CEO of Central Desktop, Isaac oversees business strategy and sales for the company. Isaac has a proven record in both early-stage technology companies and enterprise sales & marketing. He started his technology career in 1996 as the first sales rep at Quote Desk Software, which was later acquired by CNET Networks, Inc. in 2000. As a founding partner at Upgradebase, Isaac served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing where he oversaw all business development and sales for the company. During his 3 year tenure at CNET, Isaac served as a Director of North America Enterprise Sales for CNET Channel. As Director, he was responsible for the acquisition, sales and management of global partnerships with Microsoft, Google, EBay, Yahoo, Insight and BestBuy. Isaac led and managed CNET's global partnership with Microsoft to launch the Windows Marketplace campaign in 14 countries, the largest sales and marketing campaign ever launched by Microsoft. Isaac received a BA in English from Ambassador University and attended the University of Northern Colorado Graduate School where he studied English Literature for a Master of Arts.