TEDxGuangzhou 2009: The Twitter Story

Posted by on Dec 6, 2009 in Public Events, Public Speaking, TEDx | No Comments

12:48 (UTC+08:00), 06 DEC 2009 | CHN GUANGZHOU, GUANGDONG

The Fabric of Imagination — there are a million stories that can be told — from the folks right around you. #TEDxGZ

If you tweet it… they will come! #TEDxGZ

I presented a speech on 05 December 2009 at TEDxGuangzhou entitled The Twitter Story.

Getting into Guangzhou

We are now at Banghu. You can interchange to the North 2nd Ring Expressway. Total cab time 50 minutes or less. #TEDxGZ [23:44 on 04 DEC 2009]

I left Beijing in the afternoon hours on the 4th by plane — I would, of course, have preferred the train, but it’s not going to happen for a few more years, so off it was to Capital Airport then.

Interestingly enough, by the time I hit PEK, I had already gotten my 4,000th Twitter follower! Things began looking rather interesting — especially after landing in Guangzhou, where my confused cabbie tried at length to find the right gate into the venue for the TEDx venue.

It was already way past midnight but you could tell people were enthusiastic for the event. At around 2 AM, there was still a lot of chatter in the halls of the hotel. I had to be up rather early the next day — or the same day rather — just a few hours of shut-eye!

The Talk Itself

And so the 5th dawned. And TEDxGuangzhou began.

To make the event truly Twitter-related, I first went onstage and took a picture of the audience — to be tweeted later on.

I first asked the audience to define what Twitter was — taking special note that Twitter is actually about you, the user. It showed people whom you were — and because it was “mobile”, it could show you — everyday — on the go. This made it a vastly different mode of communication in the day than traditional platforms.

I explored the fact that employers would potentially do a search on a user’s Twitter profile and tweets in future before deciding whether to employ someone new. I pointed out that whilst a résumé might “not always tell the truth”, the blog, and increasingly on Twitter, true feelings were posted.

I touched upon the issue of whether or not Twitter was “boredmedia”, to be used while waiting for the bus. I also touched upon “random tweets”, including how a tweet about whether to buy Cherry Coke or Diet Sprite could, especially in larger gatherings, elicit response from the other end of the planet.

Dabeisein ist alles (to be there is everything) was a central message I was trying to convey. I also explained that being an active user is a unique experience especially when retweets, hashtags, and tweetups were involved, as well as when new tools (such as Posterous back then) got your message to a larger audience.

Throughout the conversation, I made it very personal by connecting it with his use, then (and still now) as one of China’s earliest and most active users on the social network.

I concluded the presentation with just one message — Keep tweeting.

TEDxGZ 09 slide