Q and A: Inaugural Twestivals


On Thursday night, Twitterers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will join Twitterers on every continent, in more than 100 cities worldwide, in a massive "Twestival" (Twitterspeak for a volunteer-run fundraising event) to benefit charity: water, a nonprofit group working to bring clean, safe drinking water to developing nations.

Described as "a ‘tweet-up’ with a social conscience," the Philadelphia Twestival is being held at The Get Happy Pub from 7 p.m. to midnight, and the Pittsburgh Twestival is at Downey House starting at 7 p.m.

Unsure of what to make of these Twestivals, we emailed Melissa Thiessen, one of the volunteer organizers of the Philly Twestival, with some questions.

Keystone Edge: How did you two come to be organizers of this event? Were you asked to help out by Twitter HQ?

Melissa Thiessen: We are good friends, and both love to help out the community. We saw the interest in Twestival on our Twitterstreams from our Philly friends, and decided someone needed to jump on it and involve Philadelphia… [so] the two of us started organizing the event. Twitter HQ has okayed Twestival, but is not involved with this global event.

KE: Do you imagine people will Twitter while they’re at the event? Do Twitterers do that sort of thing? Live Tweet?

MT: Yes, we do think people will Twitter at the event, and hope that they do! Having attended several Twitter meet-ups (Tweetups), Twitterers do tweet at events. We will have a live Twitter stream broadcast on the TV screens at the event.

KE: So this is the first ever Twestival in Philly? An Inaugural Twestival?

MT: This is the first Twestival in Philly. Twestival began in the UK last year, and the organizers decided to try to take it global this year. We hope it’s a success and this becomes an annual thing.

KE: How many people do you expect to attend the Philly Twestival?

MT: We are hoping for 150-200 people at Philly Twestival, we still have a lot of tickets to sell, so please buy them!

KE: What’s the capacity of the venue? If every Twitterer in Philly came, would they overflow into the street? Do we have that many?

MT: The capacity of the second floor of the Get Happy Pub is approximately 200 people. If every Twitterer in Philadelphia came to Twestival, I’m sure we would overflow the Pub quite quickly. The @phltwestival twitter username has almost 150 followers, and not everyone even interested in attending or finding out Philly Twestival is following that name. I have gained so many followers over the past few weeks on my personal Twitter (@melitami) due to organizing Twestival.

KE: Are you surprised at the response so far, the sponsors and so forth?

MT: I have been amazed and so thankful for the phenomenal response we’ve gotten from sponsors. We have over a dozen fantastic prizes to give out for the Rock Band Tournament as well as to raffle off. Also, the press and support we’ve received from the community is amazing!

KE: If you don’t mind my asking, how long have you and Gloria been Tweeting, and what about?

MT: I have been tweeting since January of 2008. I usually tweet about events I’m helping out with or attending, as well interesting Internet events, such as live podcasts and such. Gloria has been tweeting longer than I have, and tweets much more than I do. She more often live tweets events, and networks, especially for her business, Red Stapler Consulting.

The Philly Twestival will feature a Rock Band tournament ($25 to enter), prizes for which include a $75 gift certificate to Philly Beer School, a $200 gift pack from Corps Pilates, a $100 gift certificate to Moo Tattoo, and more. Both Twestivals will also have many raffles and drink specials. For details about the event, consult Philadelphia US Twestival 2009 or Pittsburgh US Twestival 2009.

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