Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hey, Shaun, I guess I can Twitter about the International Association for Identification now #99IAI

2007 and 2008 were a long, long time ago.

Back then, I was working for a company called Motorola. The separation of Motorola into two separate companies was still several years in the future. The sale of my division from Motorola to Safran would not become official until 2009.

I was working as a product manager. I wouldn't find out about my return to Proposals until late in the summer of 2009, and I wouldn't actually return until the fall.

I was a regular attendee at the annual conference for the International Association for Identification - San Diego in 2007, Louisville in 2008. I had no way of knowing that the 2008 conference in Louisville would be my last (so far).

Oh, and I was using this application called Twitter. My early adoption of Twitter was more luck than conscious planning, but I was active on Twitter (under a pseudonym), had learned about hashtags, and had even looked at hashtags from a time perspective - enough to get me listed on the Twitter Fan Wiki (although my contributions pale in comparison to those of Boyd, Messina, and Ritter).

As I noted in a 2008 post (again, under a pseudonym), all of this stuff about Motorola, product management, the IAI, and Twitter intersected together one day. One of my fellow product managers, Shaun, had a suggestion for me. (Incidentally, Shaun is the person who took the picture of me in this post - the "pirate with his Motorola Q" picture.)

The second largest conference that I attend every year is the International Association for Identification (IAI) annual conference. (That's why I was in Louisville in August, by the way.)...

My co-workers know about my various obsessions, so one of them suggested to me, "Hey, while we're at the IAI, why don't you Twitter it?" The idea was that this would be a good way to get some publicity out of our efforts there.

Unfortunately, this would only make sense if anyone were listening. I performed a search of both Twitter and FriendFeed, and I was unable to discover anyone other than myself who even had a passing interest in the IAI. If an IAI tweet lands in the Twitter forest, it WON'T make a sound.

(It shows you how long ago this conversation took place when you see that I searched FriendFeed for meaningful content.)

You may be exclaiming, "The people in the IAI in 2007-2008 were such bozos! Why weren't they on Twitter?" But before you get into that mode, consider this - back in 2007 and 2008, why SHOULD the IAI have been on Twitter?

It was one thing for Oracle to be active on social media at that time. Oracle produced very technical computer software products (no hardware yet; Exadata wouldn't appear until 2009). In addition, the Oracle Technology Network was led at the time by Justin Kestelyn. It was reasonable to expect that a company like Oracle would be active in Twitter and hashtags and the like.

The International Association for Identification was a different story. Sure, the IAI folks were technical, but for the most part they were interested in a different kind of technology - those types of technologies that could be used to gather forensic evidence at crime scenes. And yes, there were companies like Motorola and its competitor Safran that provided computer hardware and software to do this, but these systems were mostly back behind firewalls and not interacting with, say, Twitter. (Or even FriendFeed.)

Well, times have changed. I no longer work for Motorola; nobody does (Motorola as such no longer exists). I am no longer a product manager. I am not at this year's IAI conference in Minneapolis, and haven't been to IAI since 2008. But I am still using Twitter; a link to this post will appear on Twitter after I finish writing it.

Oh, and the IAI has adopted hashtags.

This year we are trying something NEW! Our conference has an official hashtag! Use #99IAI on both Twitter and Facebook when you post about your time in Minnesota this week! #99IAI will be searchable in both formats so that we can see what everyone has to say! Have a great week everyone!

And if you're wondering why the 2014 conference has a hashtag with "99" in it, the explanation is here.
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