Cars, Giving, Salt Mines, and Space Suits: Four #140conf Moments You May Have Missed

Over the past year the #140conf has traveled all over the world exploring the state of now. Speakers from all walks of life have shared stories of how real time web is changing their lives and businesses. Recently the #140conf took place in two very unusual locations, Detroit and Hutchinson, Kansas. These two conferences were unlike anything the #140conf had ever seen. While each city was different, the people there showed us the power these tools have to connect, disrupt and create serendipity.

The #140conf Detroit began with a day of giving. It was a chance for speakers to help local non-profits better understand the opportunities of the real time web. Co-hosted by Chris Barger of General Motors at the companies headquarters, the small conference room was electric with conversation, ideas and most importantly, hope. The highlight of the day was when one non-profit employee exclaimed that he had to rush home because he had gotten 5 new ideas and wanted to get working on them right away.

That energy carried over to the next day. The conference took place in the absolutely gorgeous Filmore Detriot theater. We got to see how special Detroit is and what people like Jeremiah Staes are doing to change its image. You got the sense that the people of Detroit knew this was their time to shine. They listened on the edges of their seats and exchanged ideas about how to make real lasting change. Detroit is a beautiful city that has fallen on some tough times. Seeing the energy in that room was inspiring and you just knew that something amazing was happening.

After Detroit it was off to Hutchinson, Kansas for #140conf Small Town. Here, too, there was a buzz in the air. One of excitement and exploration. For many in small town America the term ”social media” means nothing. The #140conf was an opportunity for them to learn about the real time web and experience it first hand. They listened to stories of how farmers and friends were using it to connect small town America to the rest of the world, like Kevin Honeycutt who is exploring the role of educators in the real time web. By the end of the day, they were wide eyed with excitement about the possibilities of this new medium and ready to jump in head first.

Hutchinson was the perfect place for this small town event. It’s filled with warm, welcoming people and unexpected surprises. Halloween night we all gathered in costume at the local salt mine. 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.

Both Detroit and Hutchinson showed us one thing: We have have not even began to understand the impact and potential of the real time web to change the world we live in. Check out all the videos from Detroit and Small Town at http://bit.ly/SmallTownVids. Next year holds even more surprises in store as the #140conf continues to explore the ever changing state of now.

P.S. At the beginning of the year I set out, on a journey, to share my families incredible story with the world. #140conf has given me an opportunity to do that with so many wonderful people. I’m working on a documentary film which will bring our story to even more people. We are running out of time with our kickstarter project to raise the money we need to start shooting. If you have been touched by my words at a #140conf please consider helping us out by giving to the project or helping spread the word. http://kck.st/dlC3wK

A big thank you to the #140conf community for their support and to Jeff Pulver for allowing my voice to be heard. Remember the opportunity you have, and go make something happen.

#140conf LA Recap: Lots of Awesomeness, But Different Than Boston.

Last week I attended the #140conf in LA. This event was similar to the Boston event but also different.

One thing I loved about the LA conference was the diversity of speakers. Being LA, there were a number of high profile speakers, including Greg Grunberg from the TV show Heroes, recording artist Michelle Branch and comedian Kevin Pollack, to name a few. Then you had the somewhat typical, but always insightful social media crowd talking about using these tools for business. Then there were the surprises like a wine grower and some famers talking about how they were using technology to connect with their consumers. From celebrities to farmers, it was interesting to see how these distinct groups are using social media to connect with people.

I would say the biggest difference was that LA didn’t feel as close knit as Boston. I felt like not as many of the speakers hung around after their talks. I understand it’s two very long days, but it would have been great to connect with more people. Maybe it’s because I’m from out of town, but it seemed harder to meet people. That’s not to say I didn’t meet some really interesting people. I had several great conversations with people from all over.

Video From the Conference

There is a ton of video from this two day conference. I think it is all being upload and can be watched on the 140conf blip.tv channel. Here are some of my favorite talks.

Andy Grammer (The highlight of the conference for me)

Farming, Cattle ranching and the real time web

Social media for social good.

#Squish, a new way to share love on and offline.

Incase you missed it, this is my talk.

#140conf Detroit

Up next is the #140 conference in Detroit. This 140 conference will be a little different. It will be about how to use the real time web to rebuild a city. On the 19th there is going to be a day of giving where we will be working with local non-profits to help them get a better grasp on this social media stuff. I’m really looking forward to helping out and to another wonderful #140 conference.

Becoming One Family Video: An Emotional Interview With My Sister and Adoptive Mother

In August (I say May in the video but it was really August) my older sister Eva came to visit. I sat down with her and my adoptive mother Margaret to talk about how we became one family. It was a really powerful and emotional conversation. They talk very openly about their feelings and what it was like getting to know each other.

This was the first interview we did for the documentary film I’m working on. If you enjoyed this video check out our project page on kickstarter.

Watch me speak at#140conf LA

Just a reminder that on October 5th at 3:40pm I will be speaking at the #140 Character Conference in LA. I’l be sharing our story and talking about the documentary film. The event will be broadcast live you so you can watch me and all the other great speakers.

Getting Ready for #140conf LA

Chamillionaire at TC Disrupt

It’s been very busy around here lately. Two weeks ago I spoke at the #140conf in Boston which was a lot of fun. That same day we launched our film project on kickstarter. There has also been a lot going on behind the scenes as we prepare for the next event, #140conf LA.

Sunday I’m back on the road again to spend a week in LA. Monday and Tuesday is the #140conf LA, at The Music Box, where I will be speaking again. I’ll stay in LA for the rest of week so John and I can have some face time to work together.

I’m very excited for the LA conference. I have a feeling there will be a bigger audience than Boston, which is exciting. Also, there will be a couple of well known celebrities, such as Nick Cannon, Michelle Branch, Kevin Pollak and Chamillionaire. I can’t wait to hear their thoughts about technology and how they are using it.

One person I am really interested in seeing is rapper/entertainer Chamillionaire. I have a couple of his songs and I’ve seen videos of him speaking at Stanford and other tech conferences. He recently spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt about what a rapper is doing at tech events. The video is below. I’ll be speaking after him so maybe we will get a chance to chat.

He mentioned that he uses google alerts so posts might show up on his feed. It’s funny how technology makes us so close. I look forward to meeting him and everyone else at the conference. Boston was great and I have a feeling LA will be just as good.

My First Interview for the Documentary, and it was a Great One!

Last night I interviewed my mother and sister about becoming one family. It was a really moving and powerful conversation.

If you weren’t able to join us live, don’t worry, we saved the video. There are some problems with my audio. Eventually I will re-upload this interview with better audio, but I thought it was more important to get this up for all of you.

As always, we would love to hear your feedback and thoughts about this interview.

A Conversation About Race and Adoption with Kevin Hofmann

Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Hofmann about his experiences growing up in a multicultural household. We talked about race, identity, and cultural expectations. It was a great discussion and we really hope you enjoy it as well.

Don’t see the video?

I’m working hard to makes great interviews with interesting people involved with our story. Please let me know what you thought of the interview in the comments, or by emailing dewittn@anasmiracle.com.

By the way, this our 100th post! I don’t know how significant that is, if at all, but either way it’s a milestone. 🙂

Video From My Interview With My Parents About My Adoption: Enjoy!

On Sunday I interviewed my parents about what they went through to adopt me. They shared how they were just beginning the adoption process when a mysterious phone call changed their lives forever.

Please feel free to leave questions or comments. We have already received a few and we will do our best to answer all of them!