Upon hearing the words social media and party, most people would be forgiven for picturing a pack of feral youths causing thousands of pounds worth of damage before being chased off by an army of policemen. However last night Twestival broke that mould, not only did it not require a police presence at the end of the night but it also raised a substantial sum for a worthy charity.
Initially a small gathering of London Twitterers, Twestival became a global phenomenon with more than 175 cities holding events organised by volunteers who have come together through Twitter, showing how effective it can be as a mobilising tool. With the proceeds going to charity:water, an organisation that funds clean water projects in developing counties, the event aimed to raise £700,000 for charity, a figure it now plans to squash.
One frequent criticism of social networking services and online life in general is that it isolates the individual from the “real world”. Twestival perhaps represents the perfect combination, utilising social media tools to promote and organise the event, whilst the event itself representing an opportunity for “Tweople” that regularly converse online to meet up in the flesh.
This is one way that Twitter in my opinion differs from Facebook, in that it promotes interaction between groups of people that share interests rather than your established social circle. The use of Twitter as a PR tool to participate and generate conversations with new audiences is therefore an attractive offering.
Perhaps I’ll arrange a tweet-up soon, any fellow Londoners interested in bog snorkeling?