Twitterers Worldwide Gather for Twestival
Feb. 11, 2009, The New York Times — Twitter has been co-opted by celebrities and companies like Starbucks and Bank of America. Now, the San Francisco-based service, which allows people to post updates, or “tweets,” up to 140 characters in length, is being adopted to organize an global fund-raising event called Twestival.
On Feb. 12, more than 200 cities worldwide will hold events to foster networking within local Twitter communities as well as raise funds for charity: water, a nonprofit that installs wells and rainwater harvesting systems in developing countries.
Amanda Rose, the architect behind the multicity Twitter festivities, said Twestival grew out of a smaller get-together held in London last September to benefit a local soup kitchen. “Originally, I thought it was going to be 30 people in a pub doing karaoke,” she said. “But we ended up having 250 people show up.” Ms. Rose said the London event brought in about £1,000 and several boxes of canned goods, and planted the seeds for a much larger event, spanning several international cities.
Mrs. Rose announced plans for a simultaneous, multicity event in late January, and said that in a week she had organizers willing to coordinate meetings in more than 100 cities.
Since then, Twestival has taken off: The London event is expecting upwards of 800 guests, and Ms. Rose estimated there were a dozen satellite events being hosted around Britain. Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, who is also helping organize the New York event, expects attendance numbers nearing 1,200. In addition, Twestival events have sprung up around the globe from Cape Town to Beijing, Peru, Tokyo and Bangladesh.
Ms. Rose said she hopes the larger-scale event in London can raise at least $4,000 — enough to dig one well in a developing country. In total, she’s aiming to clear $1 million in donations, though she’s said she doesn’t want to put pressure on the smaller gatherings. A million may sound like a lofty goal, but so far Twestival has collected more than $10,000 in donations via TipJoy, an online micropayment system.