What is 140 Conf?

Photo by Becky McCray

140conf on the marquee of the Fox Theatre in 2010. Photo by Becky McCray

The 140 Characters Conference, aka #140conf, takes online interaction and turns it into an in person conference. The State of NOW is made up of immediate communication tools like Twitter, Google +, Facebook and many others. The 140conf explores how the State of NOW is disrupting business, education, agriculture, media, celebrity, music, politics, public safety, and our culture.

Presentations are 10 or 15 minutes long, and PowerPoint is not allowed. Much like a Twitter message, speakers have to get to the point.

It’s not a how-to conference. It’s an idea conference.

“Rather than leaving with a bunch of tips, tools, and systems, I left with a bunch of ideas, concepts, and connections,” 2010 attendee and speaker Scott Wendling said.

It’s about serendipity, more than business cards. It’s about the hybrid vigor of ideas that happens when people from different industries or different worlds get together and come up with something new.

2010 Participation Stats

  • 38 speakers
  • 214 attendees
  • 4th largest of the ten 140 Conferences held that year
  • 12 states were represented
  • 7gb of data were generated by tweets, photos, and posts across the wifi network in the first 30 minutes of the conference
  • 2,376 people viewed the live stream, for an average of 40 minutes each
  • 15,761 views of the recorded presentation videos have occurred over the past year
2010 Media Coverage
Screen capture by Program WitchBecky McCray speaking on the Live Stream of the 2010 140conf, Screen capture by Program Witch

Who is Jeff Pulver?

Photo by Becky McCrayJeff Pulver, photo by Becky McCray

Jeff Pulver is kid who loves ham radio, all grown up. He’s a technology entrepreneur, best known to most people as a co-founder of Vonage, a voice over IP service. The Federal Communications Commission knows him as the author of the Pulver Order, the first rule adopted by the FCC about voice over IP. By 2003, BusinessWeek had named him a Tech Guru.

In 2009, he came up with the idea of bringing together 140 characters from Twitter for a real-world event. He made that happen by June 2009, with the first 140 Characters Conference in New York City. In 2010, Pulver traveled the world holding 140 Conference events in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Washington DC, New York City, Austin, Barcelona, Detroit, Los Angeles, Boston and Hutchinson.

For 2011, Pulver chose not to travel as extensively for the 140conf. He allowed licensing of the 140Conf name for local events. The only events he remains personally involved with for 2011 are the New York City 140 events, the Tel Aviv 140, and the Small Town 140 Conference in Hutchinson.

Pulver sees the New York City 140 Conference as the global event covering all topics and all locations, the local events as focused on a particular geographic area, and the Hutchinson event as the global event for Small Towns.

Why Hutchinson?

Jeff Pulver and Becky McCray kick off the 2010 event. Photo by Sheila ScarboroughJeff Pulver and Becky McCray kick off the 2010 event. Photo by Sheila Scarborough

In 2006, Pulver made friends online with Becky McCray, an entrepreneur from Alva, Oklahoma. She attended the first 140 Conference in New York City, and Pulver invited her to speak at the London 140conf. She did, and she helped bring other small business speakers to 140 Conference events that year. In 2010, she openly encouraged (OK, teased) Pulver to take a 140 event outside of major metropolitan areas. He agreed, and they started looking for a location. They planned the entire event in 90 days with just one phone call, organizing the rest of the details online.

Hutchinson was in the running because of blogger tour held in 2009, put together by local Cody Heitschmidt and many others. The core of excited volunteers at Hutchinson sealed the deal, and the 2010 event was held in the historic Fox Theatre. At the 2010 event, Pulver made the commitment to return in 2011, and set the date.

What’s on the schedule for 2011?

The main session of the conference will be from 8:30am to 5:30pm on Tuesday, September 20. Each speaker will have 10 minutes, and panels will have 15 minutes.

Speakers from 18 states in the US plus Alberta, Canada, submitted speaking applications. A preliminary list of confirmed speakers is available on the Cast of Characters page. The full schedule with time slots is available on the Schedule page.

Special Events in 2011

An open reception is planned on Monday evening, September 19, at the Kansas Cosmosphere, followed by a VIP dinner.

On Tuesday night after the 140 Conference, a reception will be held at the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. This reception will be open to all 140conf attendees.


Posts by 140 Conf Attendees

Photo by Becky McCrayThe Small Town audience is just as wired as any big city audience. Photo by Becky McCray

Videos of the 2010 presentations are available two ways. The Video Guide lists all the presentations in order. It’s like a recap of the entire event. The Videos at Blip.TV is the same videos on individual pages, with embed codes available.

Additional interviews were conducted by Oklahoma Horizon TV, and are available on YouTube.

Photo sets

Licensing on the photo sets varies by the photographer. Please check the posted licensing before using these photos.

Media Inquiries

For questions about the 140 Characters Conference SmallTown, contact Becky McCray 580-609-0123 or Jeff Pulver

Media passes are available. Email or

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