If Twitter tracked trending topics in Northeast Indiana, I am certain that #beoutrageous would have trended Wednesday evening.

The Regional Economic Summit, the culmination of the Vision 2020 process (http://www.northeastindianavision.com/) and kickoff to its implementation, was held June 23 and a firestorm of #beoutrageous tweets were logged. Over 400 in the few hours the event took place.  See the conversation here: http://wthashtag.com/transcript.php?page_id=14986&start_date=2010-06-22&end_date=2010-06-24&export_type=HTML

The Summit’s purpose was to get public support for goals and strategies that were developed during a six-month visioning process. The term “be outrageous” became the motto for the project–Northeast Indiana has to make its thinking outrageous and out of the box if we want to change the economic vitality in our corner of the heartland.

So, while 1,040 people used wireless keypad technology to vote on the goals and strategies, 62 of those people dug deeper into conversation on Twitter. Table discussions were encouraged, but because we used http://www.TwitterFall.com in presentation mode on massive screens, everyone in the room could be part of the second conversation–Twitter. With the hashtag, people sitting on opposite sides of the room were answering each other’s questions, meeting each other and encouraging each other to think a little more outrageously. Those who weren’t tweeting, were reading.

Some wondered if the second conversation would be a detriment to the first. I think it only added the first. I’ve heard that social media should facilitate, not replace, face-to-face contact. Using Twitter at a conference with over a 1,000 people who were all interacting through voting and talking at each table only helped to push conversation and bring up new points to the entire group. It was a truly interactive evening and conversation is what it will take to move the region forward. Creating more conversations–and a hashtag that can be used whenever anyone wants to be outrageous–enabled the evening to be more productive.

What it will take for the Vision 2020 process to succeed is an overall attitude shift–working together as a region, actually believing our region can do what it takes to improve, and pushing the limits of what we can do. What we saw on Twitter was the embracing of this attitude by younger-ish people who cared enough to tweet.

The Journal Gazette wrote this morning:

In addition to maintaining its regional flavor, the process also has to keep young residents engaged. The high-charged multimedia event last week drew an encouraging number of 20- and 30-something professionals, but the opportunity to weigh in on Twitter has to be backed with evidence that their ideas are valued.


Not only do those who twittered have to have brave, bold ideas, but they have to have the gumption needed to step up to conversations that are a little less accessible than Twitter. One can tweet to his heart’s content, but nothing will change here if he doesn’t take what he’s gleaned from Twitter conversations and be outrageous in his actions.

~ by monifree on June 27, 2010.

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