Important takeaways from last night's IgniteRaleigh 2, held Wednesday night in Lincoln Theatre: Raleigh boasts the third-highest concentration of modernist homes behind Los Angeles and Chicago, there is only one female boxer action figure and sexting is beneficial for relationships.
The unique event—and those very random facts—was part of Global Ignite Week, a social media meme turned PowerPoint phenomenon that spans 60 cities on six continents.
Similar to speed dating for the tech set, Raleigh's version featured 19 presenters who each had five minutes and 20 slides that automatically advanced every 20 seconds to present an idea, story or business pitch. As Ignite founders put it: "Enlighten us, but make it quick."
On the heels of Forbes crowning Raleigh with the top spot on its "Most Wired Cities" list (Wow. Tell that to THIS Raleigh. —ed.), more than 600 people flooded their Twitter streams with support, critiques and quotes from presentations, marked with the hashtag marker #igniteraleigh.
Smartphone batteries drained as Nadia Moffett, the reigning Miss North Carolina USA, and WRAL-TV meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner joined lesser known, if equally interesting, community-voted presenters such as health-enthusiast Dan Wilson and self-proclaimed redneck Jay Cuthrell.
Other brave souls touched on zombies, the importance of dumb guys in corporate America, DIY energy audits and 20 little-known facts about sex and pleasure. Some excelled, some bombed and anyone who went over their allotted five minutes was promptly cut off. (Or, in IgniteRaleigh's case, offenders were "rickrolled," a reference to the popular Internet prank involving the 1987 Rick Astley song "Never Gonna Give You Up.")
Local social media champions Kipp Bodnar, Ryan Boyles, Jeff Cohen and Wayne Sutton organized the first IgniteRaleigh in August 2009, which attracted 400 people. Find more information on the event at www.igniteraleigh.com.