Saturday, September 04, 2010

140conf Coming to Hutchinson Kansas

Something really cool is happening in Hutchinson, Kansas, where I live. Even if you're not a techie person, and you think Twitter is the stupidest thing ever invented, or you don't even know what Twitter is, give me just a couple of minutes and read about this because the fact that it's happening in Hutchinson Kansas is incredible. And, as is always the case, the reason it's happening is because of connections made by various people in the past.

In case you don't know, Twitter is a place online where people share tidbits about their lives in what are called "micro-blogs." In the case of Twitter, there's a limit of 140 characters. I've been on Twitter for a long time, but don't post a lot there. Getting an account is free and you can connect with me there at if you just want to see what it's all about.

Okay, so there's the backstory on Twitter.

Another part of this story is the blogger tour you may remember me writing about last year, which really led to me being an employee of the Cosmosphere in a round about way. But that's another long story and not necessary for this situation.

There's a guy named Jeff Pulver, who started a conference originally called the 140 Characters Conference, which has now become the 140conf. It has been, or is being, held in cities such as Tel Aviv, London, Paris, New York, Austin and San Francisco. This fall, the first ever small town 140conf is coming to Hutchinson. Yes, that's right... 140conf - Tel Aviv, Paris and Hutchinson.

Becky McCray was in Hutchinson for the blogger tour. She thought it would be a good place for the 140conf. She contacted Cody, who she knows from Twitter and who organized the blogger tour, he contacted the CVB who jumped right on it and made it happen. And, that, is why connections between people - through Twitter or other means - make things happen.

Cody and Becky asked me to help with some publicity and it is quite interesting. Here's the press release for your perusal. Make plans to join us... it's gonna be ultra cool!

140conf Coming To Hutchinson Kansas November 1
The first ever Small Town 140 Characters Conference will be held in Hutchinson, Kansas at the Historic Fox Theatre on November 1, 2010. The focus of the 140 Characters Conference is how real-time technology, such as Twitter and Facebook, is changing business, agriculture, media, education, sports and celebrity.

The all day event costs $100 for early bird registration, which lasts until September 24. It will also be streamed live on the internet. Jeff Pulver, the founder, says, “The take-aways from this event will provide the attending delegates knowledge, perspectives and insights to the next wave of effects Twitter will have on business.”

Pulver started the 140 Character Conferences in June of 2009 with an event in New York. Other 140 Characters Conferences have been held in London, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. This is the first one in a smaller community. He says this conference, “will be a ground breaking opportunity to look at the effects of the real-time web on the people and the businesses inside of and around Small Towns.”

Becky McCray, a small town entrepreneur from Alva, Oklahoma, was instrumental in encouraging development of the first small town 140 Character Conference. McCray says “Small town people and rural people are a lot more technologically savvy than anyone gives us credit for. We use the same tools and technology available to everybody else. Sometimes broadband access is an issue and we continue to work on improving it. Most of us have great access and use this technology as well as or better than any one from L.A. or London. It’s reshaping small towns just as much as it’s reshaping big cities.”

Pulver says there is no dividing line of population. “We want to include small towns and rural areas, outlying suburbs and exurbs. Plus, plenty of people who live in a big city have some important small town connection, whether that’s where you grew up, where you plan to move, where your parents came from, or where your clients are.”

McCray suggested Hutchinson, Kansas as a result of her visit in 2009 when a group of bloggers were invited to visit and write about their experiences. A joint project of LogicMaze, The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, and the Chamber of Commerce, bloggers toured the Cosmosphere, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, attended the Third Thursday Art walk, and enjoyed local food and shopping. McCray says, “Hutchinson knows technology, social media and real time local happenings and has done a great job combining them all. It was the perfect choice for the first Small Town 140 Character Conference.”

Speakers at the 140 Character Conference will come from all over the world. “We want everyone to have a voice, to give people a platform and an opportunity to be discovered. This is the time to share your story. We want to hear it,” says Jeff Pulver. Speakers present in 10 or 15 minute segments. The day moves quickly and many voices are heard.

People will be sharing what’s heard at the conference on Twitter, using what’s called a “hashtag” of “#140conf.” Twitter users all over the world will be able to search for #140conf and see everything being written from Hutchinson, Kansas in real time.

Pulver explains that, “these events provide a platform for the worldwide Twitter community to listen, connect, share and engage with each other, while collectively exploring the effects of the emerging real-time internet on business. It creates serendipity in talking to each other, sharing ideas across industries, and exchanging thoughts with people like you and not like you. To put it in rural terms, we’re going to cross-pollinate some ideas. Or think of it as hybrid vigor: your new ideas are much stronger than the ideas that brought them about.”

For more information, to register, or apply to be a speaker, go to

If you're in the Hutchinson and Wichita area, mark your calendars for October 4, when Becky McCray will be here to tell us more about the 140conf. Details will follow, but we'd love to have you join in.