Bing at The 140 Twitter Conference

Betsy mugs with ijustine (Justine Ezarik) first day of the 140 twitter conference.

Perez Hilton, eat your heart out. The Twitterati Glitterati are out and in force (and they should never really have let me in)!

My first big conference after Techcrunch50 was 140 Twitter Conference. Because it was in Los Angeles, it had a totally different flavor that perhaps only Stefan has experienced previously, during the Bing-a-thon. (Bing-a-thon star Olivia Munn was supposed to be on a celeb panel, but last minute shooting schedule issues prevented her. The Bing team sent her a small gift via her handlers; hopefully she got it. :) ).

You don’t have to take my word on how much celebrities can rule a conference. The “twitter footprint” of the conference by Cheddr Media shows the impact of celebrities on a conference twitter stream.

According to Cheddr, 2,911 people on Twitter tweeted 11,280 times with the hashtag #140tc, an average of nearly 4 tweets per person during the two day conference.

Me, I just tried to perfect that “I’m-in-marketing-now” grin, which I almost get right here, but you can see my companions (Jade Bailey-Assam of Wynn Las Vegas and Mr. Pr 2.0 himself, Brian Solis) are just way better at it. I did my part to give Spawn Labs ( the remote console enablers featured on my TechCrunch50 t-shirt) some Bing love – pretty much everyone asked if I was from Bing and what the t-shirt was about.

Marcus Schmidt from Windows was on a panel around the theme of Social CRM along with @briansolis, @misswinnie from @wholefoods, and moderated by @jerrymichalski. Folks asked a lot of questions and I think valued the insight on how people do customer service on on twitter directly. Those folks were invited by @cotweet.

One of my other favorite panels – outside of the comedian one which is pretty much unprintable on any blog my mom reads – was the one about branding. In it, though they were too polite to put it this way, two very different approaches to twitter marketing emerged in the advice of Guy Kawasaki (moderator) and Brad Nelson, who is the solo twitterer for @starbucks.

What astounded me was Guy’s frequency to promote Alltop, his new venture, and especially a feature or area that he considers pivotal, he will tweet once every 8 hours, round the clock, for 30 days. You contrast this with @starbucks who Nelson says has only had 5 pre-loaded tweets, and generally reflects him hand-checking what people are saying to him and adjusting his outbound tweets to reflect the circumstances of the day. Bing pretty much ad-hocs it, just like Brad.

Guy of course has his photo on his twitter profile. Brad won’t do it – he only wants the Starbucks logo on there as a tribute to his service to the brand. Bing of course – we believe in you knowing EXACTLY who to blame for our tweets – so we fall into the Guy Kawasaki camp here. Considering how much of a fan club TI, The Intern, got from just one photo up for 3 months, we feel Guy has it right.

Other panels made a compelling case for responsiveness, whether planned/scheduled or ad hoc. We were told that E3, the gaming conference, has been known to change programming based on twitter sentiment, and one UStream panelist noted that by asking fans to submit questions ahead of their webcast the Jonas Brothers enjoyed much more reach before, during and after the Webcast than their 1 million twitter followers.

And for actors supporting their fans and their latest projects, Twitter is indispensable. Here, we see a moment of history being made.

Pee Wee Herman’s first tweet ever.

Who won? Gnomedex Seattle volunteer @tinythoughts (Jodi Church)

One thing that gave me food for thought from a search perspective was said in the future of Twitter panel by oneforty.com founder Laura Fitton (@pistachio). She wondered aloud about the volume of words typed into Google per day vs. how many were typed into Twitter, and how much more could be learned about a user’s intent by studying words of their tweets. As we look ahead to the future of search, and the future of twitter, it’s important to think about how much work we ask customers to do, and whether (as with twitter) they feel they get enough of a fun payoff that the effort is worthwhile to them.

Betsy Aoki, Bing Senior Program Manager

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