Day One

Gad, what a cool experience.  Silver, you’d LOVE it.  Tomorrow, Liz Henry, BlogHer geek extraordinaire,  is giving a walkthrough on building WordPress templates.  You can bet I’ll be there.   

Today I went and participated in the groups that talked about online identity and all things Twitter.  Very interesting, very enlightening.  I hope I can convey some of it to my peeps at work that need it.   And are afraid of it.

Everyone always started out with, “But I don’t CARE that so-and-so just had a burrito for lunch! ” which was sort of the rallying cry for the beginning twitterers.  It ended up being the common denominator, came up at least once and generally more than once at every session.  The twitternosti would start out, “After I learned how to sort past the burritos…” and go on with their tales of Twitter In Real Life.  

One interesting woman who is being deported tomorrow because she lost her job here  and is a Canadian citizen (sad but interesting) told us a story about the power of twitter.  She said her friend was stuck on a runway (AA) in Portland, not being served food or drink, couldn’t get off the plane, and they were told it would be 5 hours before they could get to the gate.  The friend couldn’t get to her luggage for medicines that she needed, and started twittering about it.  Cathy (soon to be deportee) read for an hour or so, and then decided she’d twitter the local news station.  The news station asked if they could have the friend’s cell number for a phone interview.  Cathy called and got permission, and meanwhile other news stations picked it up, and it hit the news.  Lo and behold they soon let the plane go with apologies.  The Power of Twitter!

The most interesting things that I heard today had to do with whether or not you can really be yourself online.  I heard a depressing (but instructional) story about a woman who took naked pictures, covered with a Quake (game) box for a promotion – to win a prize.  The woman who did it was telling the story.  That picture has haunted her for years now.   I’ll bet if you google naked quake box you’ll still find Stephanie somewhere, even though she has tried to get people to pull it down now that she’s a grown up with a real career and real people to answer to.   Oh yeah, I just googled it.  There it was. There she was. With her first and last name.  Gawd!  I’m glad I was never quite that unaware of the Real World.  When she went and interviewed at AOL the first thing the interviewer said was, “How about that naked Quake box picture?”  I’d be peeling up floor tile trying to disappear.  

Moral of this story is Don’t Use Your Real Name if you’re going to do dicey things.  If you can stand behind everything you do online and wouldn’t care too much if it was on the cover of the New York Times and your boss (and all your future bosses) read it, then you’re okay.  Good advice to the youngsters out there.  Made me glad I’m kind of old with hardened skin. 

When I was at the NTEN conference last year there were a lot of dewey-eyed idealistic (and naive) young women who thought it was blasphemy to use two identities, or to curb your postings.  I wondered about it then, and now I think they need a few years of experience under their belts to come to grips with reality.  Or … maybe they were just that tame. 

One last thing – I heard a great phrase about what twitter does with it’s unique viral way of spreading.  Someone said that what twitter does best is “accelerate serendipity.”  Isn’t that great?  Accelerate Serendipity.

Speaking of great, that reminds me.  I got to sit next to one of my heroes today, Lynn Langit, an evangelist from Microsoft.  I don’t love her because she’s MS, it’s because she’s so amazingly smart.  And interesting. She does a lot of different developer stuff, but a lot of what she does is centered around promoting geekiness in girls.   She gets Microsoft to fund educational programs for young women.  But she develops full time, too, and is raising a 10 year old daughter.  

Also (and completely off-topic) :  is it true that they are teaching one space after periods in school now??  I heard that twice yesterday and it freaked me out.

I’m sleepy, going to hit the hay.  I’m sure this will need editing in the morning, but thought I’d get it all down while it was fresh.

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