From the “140 Conference” to “The State of Now” – A Conversation with Jeff Pulver and Becky McCray

Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference has taken place in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Tel Aviv. The events have explored the effects of the emerging real-time internet on a wide range of topics including business, the media, advertising, politics, fashion, real estate, music, education, public safety and public diplomacy.

In 2010, renowned Oklahoma-based blogger, small business expert, and small town advocate Becky McCray, persuaded Jeff Pulver to bring the 140 Conference to Hutchinson, Kansas, and the “140 Conference Small Town” was born.

On November 8, the conference returns to Hutchinson’s Historic Fox Theatre for a third year. Something different for 2012 – a change of name from the “140 Conference” to “The State of Now.”

Social: IRL is pleased to support The State of Now: Small Town. We’re looking forward to our third year attending and would encourage you to join us. Use discount code friendofST12 and you can register for just $40, a saving of some $60 on the standard $100 rate.

You’ll also be able to get a preview of the State of Now: Small Town and connect with Becky McCray at a special event Social: IRL is hosting in Lawrence, Kansas, the evening of October 25.

Meantime, we chatted with Jeff Pulver and Becky McCray to get their perspectives on what makes this event so special, insights on what attendees can expect to experience, and to understand the re-branding to “The State of Now.”

For people who haven’t attended before, could you give a brief outline of what they can expect at “The State of Now” and what makes it such a unique experience?

Becky – Expect real people sharing their own short stories. Expect to feel a connection, as they tell how our shared online space has changed their work, their friendships, or their life.  Expect to get more ideas than how-to’s. Expect storytelling, not PowerPoint. Expect to make friends with people nearby or far away, people just like you, but completely different. 

Jeff – When I curate these conference, I try to be the “Human DJ” trying to mix the voices and stories shared.

 

Hutchinson KS, saw the first “Small Town” State of Now conference. What brought about the specific small town focus, and why Hutchinson?

Becky McCray with Jeff Pulver in Hutchinson last year. Source: beckymccray.com

Becky – Jeff had dreamed up the idea of bringing together 140 characters in the real world, to strengthen our online connections. He debuted it in New York and took it on the road. As he went to Barcelona and Tel Aviv, Steve Tucker and I teased Jeff about coming to a smaller town, getting out of the big city. Of course, Jeff took us up on the offer. So then I started looking for a town near me, but closer to an airport, and also cool enough to host an event that I knew would draw people from all over the world. I had been in Hutchinson for a tour of bloggers that Cody Heitschmidt and other locals created, so I knew a bit about it. And Hutch managed to beat out the two other towns I looked at, so Hutch it is. And it’s turned out to be great. Occasionally, I get some static that Hutchinson isn’t a small enough town, but I live in a town of 30 people, so I get it. The people of Hutchinson have given us a small town welcome.  

 

Focusing specifically on Hutchinson, who are the speakers? What type of stories do they share?

Becky – At Hutchinson, we have the people you’d expect in a small town: business owners, teachers, people from nonprofits, farmers and ranchers, and more. And they came from 18 states and 3 countries last year. Then we also have people from big cities who have a connection to small towns, like Ron J. Williams of New York City who has family in small towns. So we’ve had Val Wagner of North Dakota talking about making time for social media in agribusiness, Grant Griffiths sharing how he launched an international high-tech business from his basement, and Jay Ehret of Waco, Texas, talking about selling your soul for business. Then we had Steve Tucker touching our hearts with the story of an online friend who passed away, Laura Girty talking about what happened after her son died and came back to life, and Joe Cheray talking about surviving incest in a small town. That is a pretty amazing mix of stories! 

 

Some of the stories shared at the State of Now events are intensely personal. What do you feel motivates people to step outside their comfort zone and share at these events in a way they might never typically do?

Becky – I really think it’s because Jeff asked. He offered to share the stage, and he invited the people of small towns to step up. And the stories just came pouring out. It was like no one had ever asked before. 

 

From the first couple of years in Hutchinson, any stand out memories you can share?

Jeff – My memories start before the first conference. “School Bus Racing” in Hutch was a surreal experience.  For me it is always about the people and the communities that get formed.

 

Jeff, As a native New Yorker, what were your key personal takeaways from the “small town” experience and that first Hutchinson event?

Jeff – As a result of visiting Hutchinson, I have made it a point to include the stories of some of the people I met in NYC at our annual global event. It helped that in August, 2010, I drove across the Midwest for 6 1/2 days. I visited quite a number of small towns during that journey. Key take away was that I needed to return to Hutchinson and make this an annual event. Our conferences provide a stage for people to share their stories. It doesn’t matter where they are from or who they are. Everyone’s voices matter. And we try to offer as many people to speak that we have room for.

 

Until recently, “State of Now” was known as the 140 Conference. Why the change?

Jeff – Mostly because I wanted to take away the false belief that we are a Twitter conference. Our conferences provide a portal into what is happening at this very moment and the continued effects of the evolution of the real-time web on our lives – both from a personal and business perspective. “Exploring the State of NOW” was the original tagline. Now it is the formal name of the conference.

 

State of Now returns to Hutchinson on November 8. Anything you can share on what attendees can expect to hear or who they can expect to hear from?

Becky – The call for speakers is still open, so I can’t reveal any secrets. But I can say that I see lots of returning favorites, and even more new names. People from Iowa, Wyoming, Michigan, New York, Louisiana, and Kansas are already in there. I know this will be another amazing year! 

 

For someone who hasn’t attended before, what would you say to encourage them to make the trip to Hutchinson?

Becky – Let’s share some of what people who have made the trip said: 

“Rather than leaving with a bunch of tips, tools, and systems, I left with a bunch of ideas, concepts, and connections.” –Scott Wendling

“Some things are just too small to miss.” -Jay Ehret

“Hutchinson was the perfect place for this small town event. It’s filled with warm, welcoming people and unexpected surprises. We traveled 650 feet underground into the tunnels that run under the city and got to experience life as an ant. After the conference there was a party at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. We got to see space suits and space ships that actually went into space. Who could have imagined that this small town in the middle of America could hold such wonders.” -Nelson DeWitt

“I encourage anyone within 1,574 miles of Hutchinson to attend.” –Greg Falken

 

State of Now: Small Town

Hutchinson, Kansas – November 8, 2012

Event website: http://smalltown2012.stateofnow.com/

Register with  promotion code friendofST12 to save $60.

Join Social: IRL and Becky McCray in Lawrence, Kansas, October 25 for a special evening event sponsored by Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, and Social Media Club of Lawrence. 

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our top ten links and resources for the week, and details of upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

 

Top Ten Links and Resources:

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1. Social Customer Service: The Next Competitive Battleground – Businesses need to realign their technologies and their cultures around the customer. Companies that fail to do so will not only shed marketshare, but place the survival of their business at risk. READ MORE

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2. The Ripple Effect of Following a Brand on Social Media – A new study from Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor highlights how consumers are influenced in their purchasing decisions based on friends “Likes” and social endorsements. READ MORE

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3. Pinterest Traffic to Your Website Might be 64% More Than You Think – LL Social explain issues with Google Analytics and mobile traffic from the Pinterest iOS app. READ MORE

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4. Seven Steps to Grow Corporate Social Media Programs – Valuable insights were shared during an AMA webinar earlier this week featuring the Director of Social Media for Spredfast, the Global Online Community Manager for Whole Foods, and Social Communications manager for AARP.This recap includes many of the key takeaways and a copy of the complete slide deck. READ MORE

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5. Taking Social Measurement Beyond Basic Metrics to Real Insights & Action – Free webinar opportunity on July 19 with Altimeter Group Analyst, Susan Etlinger. Part of the Pivot Conference webinar series. READ MORE

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6. HR’s Critical Role In Social Business Transformation – Valuable insights from Edelman’s Michael Brito on the indispensable role HR departments play as a strategic partner in transforming an organization into a social enterprise. READ MORE

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7. How the All Star Game Social Media Command Center Works – For the recent All Star Game in Kansas City, a Social Media Command Center was created to welcome, engage and help visitors to the city. This post from Spiral16 gives some insights in to the workings of this joint initiative by the Mayor’s Office, Visit KC, H&R Block, Barkley, and volunteers from the local Social Media Club chapter. By the time the All Star Game was over, the Social Media Command Center had processed over 72,000 messages. READ MORE

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8. The State of Social Media and Social Media Marketing – Valuable data and insightful analysis in this comprehensive presentation put together by Samsung USA Social Media Manager, Esteban Contreras. READ MORE

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9. The Power of Social Advertising – Amplifying your brand message by using the assets of earned and owned media and turning them into powerful paid media. This recent webinar featuring Expion’s Zena Weist along with the IgnitionOne’s VP of Global Strategy, and Facebook’s Adam Gertson, shared important insights to help advertisers understand and optimize Facebook advertising. A full recording of the webinar is now available. READ MORE

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10. Discover More About Your Audience – Good collection of tips & tools for analyzing, understanding & better engaging your social media audience. READ MORE

 

Upcoming Social Media Events:.

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Join Social: IRL with Jason Falls in Des Moines for “All Business, No Hype, Social Media” – On August 30, Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls will lead two in-depth 90 minute workshop sessions focusing on social media tools, tactics, content, planning, strategy and measurement. Registrations are just $65. We’ll also have special guest speakers from the local tech community, and post-event networking.  READ MORE

 

Social Media for Non-Profits – We’re excited to announce two additional dates for the Social: IRL non-profits workshops. These events are free for non-profit organizations to attend. Join us in Wichita KS on July 24, and in Springfield MO on August 23. READ MORE

 

Join Social: IRL, Brian Solis, and 500 of the top media minds in the industry in New York for Pivot – Here’s why we’re attending and are recommending the event for all agencies and brand marketers. We also have a VIP discount code to share, which will save you 20% on registrations. READ MORE

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The State of Now Conference (formerly 140 Conference) returns to Hutchinson KS on November 8 – Expect to hear from dozens of great speakers sharing stories of the personal and professional impact of social media and the “state of now,” with a focus on small town communities. Call for speakers currently underway. READ MORE

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Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, SocialVolt, Spiral16, and Appinions. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Top Ten Social Media Links and Resources and Upcoming Social Media Events

We’re pleased to share our top ten links and resources for the week, and details of upcoming events Social: IRL is hosting or supporting.

If you would like additional resources sent direct to your inbox, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter.

Special Announcement: Join us in Des Moines on August 30, with Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls. Exclusive pre-sale underway, discounted registrations available thru June 30. Details & registration.

 

Top Ten Links and Resources

 

1. The Illusion of Social Media Engagement – Are you fostering sincere & sustainable engagement that adds value to your brand, or just creating an illusion through incentived or forced engagement. READ MORE

 

2. From Islands To Ecosystem: Connecting Social, Digital & Mobile – David Armano on moving from “digital islands” to planning, building, maintaining and growing a healthy and integrated digital ecosystem. READ MORE

 

3. The Power of Brand Advocates – Powerful stats in this infographic shared by Spiral16, highlighting why it’s so important to understand, engage & empower these “Powerhouse Consumers”. READ MORE

 

4. Taking the NO Out of InNOvation – Brainzooming’s Mike Brown on overcoming 10 key challenges to business innovation.READ MORE

 

5. “Spruce up Your Social” with Jason Falls, Jeremiah Owyang and Michael Brito – On-demand recordings of all three presentations from Spredfast’s recent webinar series: Creating and Using Great Social Content, Knowing and Delighting Your Social Customer, Scaling Social Across Your Organization READ MORE

 

6. Social Media as a Behavior Rather than a Medium – CP+B’s Andrew Keller, on creating a brand fit for the modern age. READ MORE

 

7. Investing in the Mobile Enterprise – This is the dawn of the mobile enterprise and digital strategists must think beyond the idea of a social business. Now is the time to lay the foundation for an adaptive enterprise where mobile becomes one of the pivotal screens for employee and customer engagement, communication, and collaboration – Brian Solis. READ MORE

Bonus: Valuable new research on mobile consumers available in the two free reports.  Edison Research: The Smartphone Consumer 2012. Pew Internet: Cell Internet Use 2012.

 

8. Developing a Topical Influence Marketing Strategy – Appinions discuss topical influence and using data to build an effective outreach and marketing strategy. READ MORE

 

9. What Makes and Engaging Facebook Post? – Expion analyzed thousands of posts and identified three themes that consistently increased user activity. READ MORE

 

10. The Connected Consumer and The Dynamic Customer Journey  Valuable insights in these keynote presentations by Altimeter’s Brian Solis and Jeremiah Owyang – Links include full video of each presentation:

Brian Solis “Generation-C” at GDOL in Istanbul.

Jeremiah Owyang “The Dynamic Customer Journey” at LeWeb in London.

 

Upcoming Events:

 

The Future of Mobile Payments – A special event in Kansas City on July 9, presented by KC Next and featuring Dwolla, Chirpify & The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. READ MORE

 

Join Social: IRL, Brian Solis, and 500 of the top media minds in the industry in New York for Pivot – Here’s why we’re attending and are recommending the event for all agencies and brand marketers. We also have a VIP discount code to share, which will save you 20% on registrations. READ MORE

 

Social Media for Non-Profits – We’re excited to announce two additional dates for our non-profits workshops. These  events are free for non-profit organizations to attend. Join us in Wichita KS on July 24, and in Springfield MO on August 23.  READ MORE

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Links include content identified as being from our sponsors Spredfast, Expion, Spiral16, and Appinions. We are grateful to these sponsors for their support and enjoy sharing content and webinar opportunities they provide which we consider to be valuable to the Social: IRL community.

Take it Offline! Attend one of these Regional Social Media Events

In addition to Social: IRL’s own events, we’re always pleased to support other events we believe offer valuable learning and networking opportunities. Four events we’re recommending in Kansas and Missouri.

 

Social Media Club of Kansas City – Breakfast with Scott Monty

September 2, 2011

Kansas City, MO

Registration $15

Visit event website

 

140 Conference: Small Town

September 20, 2011

Hutchinson, KS

Registration $100

Visit event website

Social: IRL are pleased to sponsor this event.
Use discount code friendof140 and your registration will be reduced to just $40.

 

Social Media Masters (produced by the national Social Media Club)

October 21, 2011

Kansas City, MO.

Registration $299

Visit the event website

Use discount code SMCLAWRENCE to save 30% off registration.

 

PodCamp Topeka

October 22, 2011

Topeka, KS

Registration $10

Visit the event website