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LI conference chats up social networks

Kevin Kelly talks about tweeting and how social

Kevin Kelly talks about tweeting and how social media is affecting his life and work. (May 26, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

In fast-paced, five-minute sessions, about 40 social-media users told how their work and lives have been affected by the real-time Internet, meaning the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Speakers at the 140 Character Conference Long Island, held Thursday at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, ranged from social-media strategists to a Reform rabbi in Wantagh.

Some of the themes: the need to come across as human but not "stupid" on social media; their generous and affirming nature; the power to develop your voice and have it amplified.

Rabbi Marci Bellows of Temple B'nai Torah -- she's known on Twitter as @moosh2 -- told of her early questions, such as, Should she have personal and congregation-related Twitter and Facebook accounts? When she moved to Long Island in 2009, she said, she took the plunge with one account on each platform "appropriate for all audiences."

Yes, that means congregation members might catch sight of her junior-high hairdo, but her inclination was to be more accessible.

It's a way, too, to connect with younger members, who'll ask her views on various issues, including what she thought of the latest episode of "Glee."

Susan Serra, @SusanSerraCKD, who runs a home-based kitchen design business in Huntington, told of plunging in to blogging, Twitter and Facebook. Yes, some small balls get dropped, she told the nearly 80 attendees. And, no, she doesn't know about metrics and other in-the-know tools and terms. But her activity has led to her being interviewed on the "Rachael Ray Show," Martha Stewart Radio and for Oprah.com.

When it comes to social media, she said, "I have no expertise. Just results." Serra had 4,002 Twitter followers as of last night

Panels of speakers at the conference, planned by a group of volunteers, got all of 15 minutes to talk about the likes of the #usguys virtual community for about 1,000 Twitter users worldwide, and #latism, another such group where users tweet on issues of interest to the Latino community.

Jeff Pulver, @jeffpulver, the digital entrepreneur in Great Neck who originated 140 Character Conferences in 2009, told of the support he's gotten through Twitter, where people write tweets in 140 characters or fewer.

When he was about to set up for that first event, he said, he realized he needed a hand to unpack the 18 boxes he was driving into a no-parking zone in Manhattan. He sent out a tweet asking for help, and eight strangers showed up.

"If you give people the opportunity to take action, sometimes they will," he said.

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