Archive for June, 2009

Following & tweeting the Aspen Ideas Festival on Twitter

June 30th, 2009, by Peter Hirshberg | located in Conversations | Comments off | trackback
Remember, if you tweet, be sure to use our hashtag: #aif09 A friend in aspen asked me, “How can my friends who aren’t in Aspen follow the ideas festival?  Joan, here are three great ways! 1. Click here for Twitter search results on Aspen Ideas Festival 2. Check here for twazzup’s page that gives results that update in real time & related media 3. Tweebase built this great page that lets you follow tweets writtnen about each speaker. What are folks saying about Eric Schmit’s talk? Or Andrew Sullivan’s Remarks And here are three ways to tweet other from mobile devices:
1. For blackberry download twitterberry for blackberry

2. For iPhone,  Twitter works directly from your browser
or, purchase Tweetie from the iphone store ($2.99)

3. You can tweet from any cellphones that can send texts. You  tell twitter your phone number and then send tweets as text messages. Click here for how

The Aspen 140: Engaging the world 140 characters at a time

June 29th, 2009, by Peter Hirshberg | located in Conversations | Comments off | trackback

I’m at the Aspen Ideas Festival working with the Aspen Institute and our Conversation Group team on a project to get great swaths of Ideas Festival attendees and speakers to tweet the festival and thus share the conversation broadly. The Festival hits many broad topics— Media, Environment, Health Care, Science, International Relations— of interest to many on line communities, and thus a real opportunity make this event more open and globally engaging than it has been before.


On Tuesday at 4:00 PM I’ll be giving a Tweetorial with Jeff Jarvis to share the hows and whys of Twitter. Whats great about the Aspen community is they’ve all heard about Twtitter, see how its changing politics, news, brands, conferences… so there is a lot of interest in learning how to do it. And getting such a smart, connected group online really furthers the purpose of the Ideas Festival. We’re also telling everyone to use our hashtag: #aif09


Here’s the message we’re sharing with Festival Attendees:



The Aspen 140

Engaging the World 140 Characters at a Time


The Aspen Ideas Festivals gathers leaders to do the best thing you can do with ideas: share them.  In years past all the action was on campus, aided by media (and bloggers) who reported on what was said. This year we’re adding a new dimension: extending our reach by tapping the community of speakers and attendees to participate in open conversation about the ideas that are generated and shared here. We call this the Open Ideas Project, and the people who will make it happen are The Aspen 140.


How does it work?  The Aspen Ideas Festival is teaming up with The Conversation Group to recruit at least 140 attendees to participate in reporting the Festival using any number of social media tools, and linking and distributing the content via Twitter. The  attached “how to tweet the conference” guide tells how.  The Ideas Festival will present a Tuesday afternoon “tweetorial” with Peter Hirshberg and Jeff Jarvis on the hows and whys of Twitter.  We’ll be aggregating all of the content originating from the Ideas Festival and posting daily a recap (a tweecap”) of the best .


Our request: join Twitter and share your experience of the Ideas Festival. Recruit your friends and speakers. Amp up the conversation.  More than ever tools exist to  weave the Aspen Institute Community into a global conversation. And that’s something each of us can do.

We also wrote a brief “how to tweet guide” which itself looks like a bunch of tweets. Download Aspen Ideas Festival Twitter
Download the pdf , above. Its fun. For those who are bandwidth challenged , the text of the how to guide is below:

The Aspen 12-Step Great Ideas Program

Sharing the Ideas Festival With The World

In 140 Characters or Less Using Twitter

1. Admit there is a higher power: sign up for a free Twitter account:

2. Tweets are (very) short messages: 140 characters or less.

3. Always include #AIF09 in your tweet. That’s our unique Ideas Festival tag

4. Tweet from your laptop, Blackberry, iPhone … or any phone that can text

5. Full how-to instructions at

6. A good format: idea, speaker, where you are. As in an idea from a session:

Now listening to @hirshberg at the Aspen Ideas Tweetorial. What a riot. #aif09

(a quote, the speaker, the conference)

7. Tweet the essence of a session. Memorable quotes. Big ideas

8. Tweet what moves you. What makes sense. What’s bunk

9. Tweet the sessions you’re going to

10. Tweet ideas from your conversations

11. If you blog or upload video, be sure to tweet the link

12. Learn more at the TWEETorial 4:00PM Tuesday, Mcnulty Room, Doerr-Hosier Center

Why all this? Newsies, bloggers, people who follow ideas will see all these thoughts coming from Aspen. They will take note. This will make the Ideas Festival more open, more accessible, and more connected to more people.


Iran 2.0: Thirty Years of Social Media Revoutionaries

June 18th, 2009, by Peter Hirshberg | located in Conversations | Comments off | trackback

Before the Social Media Revolution, before Twitter, before blogging, before even the internet itself there was the Iranian Revolution. Wills  In 1979  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini  was able to mobilize his supporters and fire the Islamic shot heard round the world with the subversive, emergent media of the day— cassette tapes and the telephone. The Shah may have had complete control over mainstream media, but nobody was in charge of all the cassette machines that copied Khomeini’s  message of Islamic fundamentalism  from France to Iran  and ultimately into mosques across the country. So there is some irony that the revolutionaries of that era who now run the place are cast as today’s  reactionaries,  on the receiving end of uncontrollable social media which relentlessly and inevitably are spreading the word, despite the state’s  desperate effort  write  history in its image and control the message. Honestly, Stalin would have been just as annoyed at Twitter and would have dispatched the KGB to shoot up the internet. Back in the day the United States was on the wrong side of history as we watched the Shah’s power crumble and then endured revolutionaries occupying our embassy and holding Americans  hostage. Today things are flipped as the Iranians are outraged at a regime backed by Fundamentalists Gone Wild.  Or to quote the 1968  Chicago Yippies who were the media influence for the 1979 Iranian radicals,  “the whole world is watching” as the credibility of the Iranian state and its elections  are challenged. Which raises a tempting question: are the forces that led to Islamic fundamentalism in the first place now about to self-organize once again and begin to lead to its undoing? After all, the first great manifestation of the Fundamentalist Islamic state was Iran 30 years ago. Al Queda and the Taliban simply open-sourced the Khomeini idea and extended it.   The greatest challenge to fundamentalist  Islam ever seen is being witnessed  right now, in Iran as its people question the legitimacy of their  ruling regime. Well, almost. After 9/11 the USA mounted he greatest, most intense challenge to Islamic fundimentlaism ever. But that took untold billions of dollars, thousands of lives and ultimately ended up picking a fight with a non-fundamentalist regime that wasn’t responsible  for 9/11 in the first place. Which  hurt us at home, hurt us in the eyes of many people of the Middle East, and will take us years to clean up. One could argue that what  has been accomplished in the name  of self determination , freedom and the power of democracy  in the last 100 hours by the thoroughly  pissed-off  and energized people of Iran is more leveraged, sustainable  and likely to spread virally that the efforts of the  USA over the past 100 months in its endeavor to bring democracy to Iraq by force. This is not to diminish the  valiant effort of our armed forces or our diplomatic successes.  But it does point out that the top down, were gonna impose it approach we took is incredibly  expensive  and has a lot of annoying side effects that you don’t have to worry about in bottoms-up people led movement. Many a CEO might note that top down imposed change in a corporation is a lot tougher to make stick effectively  than engendering a bottoms-up movement among employees. This seems to be part of the fundamental grammar of the distribution media of our day. President Ahmadinejad would like the world to believe that the forces opposing him are so much American  and western hooligan meddling (Has any state that blamed hooliganism for its woes ever been anything other than a bad joke?)  Its true that we Americans are  contributing  to the Iranian proto-revolution, but not in the state led manner that Ahmadinejad imagines.  His problems stem from the modern version of the cassette tape. A set of thoroughly western,  nee  American, nee practically Northern Californian innovations: Twitter, the blogosphere and the Internet. There is a certain symmetry that the very nation that ushered in the Islamic revolution a generation ago with bits of subversive  western technology  may be returning to their playbook to remake themselves today. So, viva la revolution! Viva open media! And viva the first mass self-determination movement made possible by APIs! ( Okay,  Obama used a lot of these techniques last year. But he had the advantage of operating on the home turf of a great  Democracy. So watching all this play out in Iran is particularly stunning. )