Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Twestival: Let’s tweet, meet and give

Once a year, the Twitter family looks forward to its biggest event -- Twestival® (or Twitter Festival) -- taking place on Thursday (March 24).

Social media platform Twitter celebrates Twestival worldwide for social good by connecting offline communities on a single day to highlight a great cause and have a fun event. Twestival is the largest global grassroots social media fundraising initiative to date. Since 2009, volunteers have raised close to $1.2 million for 137 nonprofits. All local events are organized 100 percent by volunteers and all ticket sales and donations go direct to projects.

This year, Twestival is going “Local” again. All proceeds collected at Thursday's Dubai Twestival (@DubaiTwestival) will be directly donated to the Dubai Autism Center (@DubaiAutism) to support the admirable work the center does with children and parents of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Twestival was born out of the idea that if cities are able to collaborate on an international scale but work from a local level, it can have a spectacular impact. Over 200 international cities, including Dubai, Beirut, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah to Buenos Aires, Bangalore, Seattle, Seoul, Hong Kong, Honolulu and many others have participated in Twestival.

Twestivals are all about “Tweet.Meet.Give” and that's exactly what the last three Twestivals have been about.  Twestival Global held in February 2009 resulted in 202 participating and raised over US $250,000 for Charity: Water leading to 55 wells built in Ethiopia, India and Uganda.

Meanwhile, in September 2009, 130 cities joined in Twestival Local 2009 to support causes that were closer to home -- in Dubai’s case, the Dubai Autism Center. Collectively, over US $450,000 was raised worldwide to support 135 local charities. With the spotlight on education, 175 cities participated in Twestival Global 2010 in March 2010. Over $400,000 were raised and distributed between Malawi, Liberia, Haiti and Burundi.

The Twestival poster in support of Japan
This year, in addition to more than 150 local charities, Twestival will be supporting @SaveTheChildren's Japan Emergency Fund on a global scale. Starting today, Wednesday, Twestival’s online campaign will leverage the 24-hour Twestival livestream and the support of its organizing teams around the world. It is estimated that over 100,000 children have been displaced during the recent quake tsunami in Japan and keeping with Twestival aims, Twestival will be working closely with Save the Children to ensure funds have a direct impact there.

Dubai Twestival is an event we all look forward to. It takes place for the second time at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. If last year is anything to go by, it promises to be an exciting evening.

There are no tickets or entry fees thanks to Dubai Twestival’s sponsors -- du (the integrated telecom service provider in the UAE) and InterCon DFC, who have provided the venue, technology and a non-alcoholic welcome drink.

You can contribute to the Dubai Autism Center in several different ways:
  • Dubai Autism Center staff will be onsite during the event to accept donations.
  • Some “cool stuff” will be auctioned and all proceeds will be donated to the center.
  • You can donate directly to the center before or after Twestival by visiting their website:
And there will also be a specially designed, exclusive, “Dubai Twestival” T-shirt!

We have been warned to walk on the Red Carpet on arrival and smile at the camera as Dubai Twestival will be live-streamed, courtesy of Vokle, on the live stream channel of Twestivals worldwide.   The Dubai organizers have also said to expect a lot of surprises and giveaways, a few impromptu performances and geeky gadgets to play with.

A big thank you goes out to the tweeps who have helped make Dubai Twestival happen -- the organizers and core volunteers -- @PKGulati @CarringtonMalin @Esperanca @MissGoogle @Njashanmal @AbhaMalpani @Mita56 @MaliZomg @Mnystedt @Cnystedt @RobSingleton and @Floatr.

A big round of applause to the main sponsor, du (@duTweets); the venue Sponsor, InterCon DFC (@InterCon DFC); and support sponsors @Aramex, @MomentaryAwe, @Niftee, @JashanmalBooks, Flip by Cisco, @DuPlays, Nokia, Ford Middle East.

Let’s Twestival… let’s Tweet.Meet.Give!