Back in February users of the website Twitter gathered in Liverpool for the first ever ‘Twestival’, a very alternative festival.
In case you didn’t know, Twitter is a micro blogging website where you update the world, or at least those following you on the site, on your latest activities in 140 characters or less, similar to your Facebook status.
It has gained notoriety thanks to its famous British users. Actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry ‘tweets’ about his latest activities on a daily, sometimes hourly, almost unhealthy basis as does Jonathan Ross when he’s not offending the nation.
From Twitter emerged the ‘Twestival’ an idea hatched by a group of ordinary London based Twitter users with the idea of bringing ‘twitterers’ worldwide together in order to raise money for Charity Water which aims to supply clean drinking water to the third world.
So on February 12th, 185 ‘Twestivals’ were held worldwide from Dubai to New York. Liverpool was just one of the venues where organiser Mandy Phillips got a surprisingly positive response: “I’ve been amazed by the generosity of people on Twitter from the Liverpool area,” she said prior to the event.
“It’s about that community thing but it’s also about that virtual network where your talking to people who you wouldn’t know if you met them on the street and then making that real. I can’t describe how important that is.”
Around 80 people attended the event at the city’s Leaf Café on Parliament Street with live music, DJ, auctions and raffles helping to raise over £500 which will contribute to the cost of building a well in the third world.
Stephen Fry even contributed some of his own personal belongings in aid of the event as Phillips explained: “He sent me an Oscar Wilde book that he wrote the foreword for and signed and he also sent me two pairs of his socks. I think they were used, they’re not smelly but they’re definitely worn!”
As for the chances of Fry giving up his used socks up for another ‘Twestival’ next year, Phillips added: “We’ll see what Twestival decides to do because it might be a one off from their point of view so we’ll just wait and see.”
Meet the Twitterers
Adam Yaffe, photography company director, on Twitter’s addictiveness:
“I didn’t realise it would become an addiction but it has! Because I have the application on my iPhone I use it more and more. Suddenly I’ve realised that I need to keep using it in case I miss something so it’s become part of my life.”
Kieran Lamb, librarian at Liverpool Primary Care Trust, on Twitter in the work place:
“We use Twitter in work to send messages to the users about what we’re doing during the day so it can be a good work tool but it can be a bit of fun as well. It’s one of those things that you go through phases with it but I think we’re increasingly using it as a way of communicating with other library folks.”
Dominique Aspay, a Twitter newcomer:
“Only in the last week or so have I started getting into Twitter, just out of curiosity really. Now I use it every day. I find it’s getting addictive with my updates becoming more and more inane!”
Thom Shannon, media company director, on Twitter’s news value:
“I’m on it all day. It gets addictive, it depends who you follow but it can become a feed of information you can’t get anywhere else. Most of the breaking news I find out on Twitter before anywhere else has it.”