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140 Conf Ontario #140conf | Ramy Nassar

140 Conf Ontario #140conf

Last month I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at Ontario’s first 140 Conf. It’s always a pleasure to be asked to share ideas and opinions, but this was a really special opportunity! I was asked to be on a panel with a handful of other incredible community leaders (Hilary Abel / @angrycelery, David Yoon / @daejin_v2 and James Howe / @Communic8nHowe) and our panel was actually left pretty wide open (which is rare). 

The group of us and the panel moderator got together in the weeks before the event and discussed at length how social media has impact each of our events (Steel Rails, TEDxWaterloo, Ignite Waterloo & Social Media Breakfast) and that was one element of the conversation. What I really enjoyed was also looking at the sometimes ugly, dark or bitter side of social media and twitter in particular.

Twitter is a platform that lets individuals broadcast their every waking thought, opinion or ideal to an audience that can very quickly (with the right followers, hashtags and a bit of re-tweeting luck) spread around the world. I believe that that also puts a fair bit of responsibility on anyone using the platform and often people forget about this aspect.

When you call someone out about something, or say something out of context in any social media platform, there’s a risk of doing a whole lot more damage than you may have intended. But what is it about these tools that makes people so comfortable in saying these types of things? I guess the tools provide some level of anonymity. Whether you use your real name or not on twitter, there is still a bit of a feeling of anonymity associate with a tweet.

Would someone with 300 followers get up on stage in front of those 300 people and share aloud every tweet that they put online? Most likely not. I also don’t expect that they should, but giving that a bit of thought before hitting send could probably improve the impact of social media, while not taking away the ability to be controversial and stir things up once in a while (one of the very powerful sides of these platforms).

Anyway, the event was a lot of fun to attend and I had a blast on stage with the others in the group and asking some of these questions to the group led to great conversation, which carried on into the audience during the breaks and between sessions. Mission accomplished! Thanks to the organizing team for the conference for inviting me to participate!