This Thursday will see the global Twestival event taking place in Dubai. Over 175 countries all over the world are having simultaneous events to celebrate the fine art of Twittering. All you have to do is be a user of the micro-blogging social networking phenomenon and this year’s biggest new thing since Marmite rice crackers.
Well, I can see there’s a downside to getting stuck at the upper deck of Dubai’s Barasti Bar on a Thursday evening with upwards of a 140 early adopters, geeks, nerds, social networking gurus (they’ll be the ones in towels) and neologists. But there’s an upside, too.
Twitter’s damn useful. It started as a social application which aimed to give you a 140 character space to answer the question ‘What are you doing right now?’ But Twitter has evolved at a remarkable pace. The underlying technology hasn’t changed so much as they way people have used it. Rather like SMS, Twitter has taken on a life of its own.
The Dubai Twestival venue was itself sourced and booked using Twitter, which can move information at remarkable speeds. In fact, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi (@minaseyahi) became a sponsor of the event - again, through Twitter. And so did Virgin Megastores (@virginmegame)!
Crowd-sourcing (Anyone know where I can get tickets to the Dubai Twestival?), customer service (I hate HSBC! "Hi. This is HSBC. What’s the problem?" - OK, so that example's a pipe dream, but you get what I mean. Companies like Comcast are using it effectively), marketing ("Try this out, it’s cool") and sharing ideas, information, updates, tips and links you’ve come across are all just a sample of the many ways that people are finding Twitter is a useful and cool tool.
For what it’s worth, people, my Twitter feeds into my Facebook page and to the blog (the feed’s there, to the right hand side) and generates a very different set of responses from each of the platforms it goes to. By using TweetBurner, a natty little application that shortens URLs, I can Twurl any site I come across on the web, sharing that information with the people ‘following’ me on Twitter, my Facebook friends and even you, the rather wonderful readers of this daft wee blog.
You can respond to a ‘Tweet’ on Twitter, send and receive direct messages and ‘re-tweet’ stuff you like and want to pass on to your fellow Twitterers. By tweeting and re-tweeting, information can flow at remarkable speed and to remarkable numbers of people. Just take the recent Mumbai bombings or the Israeli incursion into Gaza, where debate and information were flowing at a blistering pace.
And then start adding in other applications for Twitter. Take a look at Blip.fm (again, there’s a ‘Blip widget’ to the right side of the blog if you scroll down), which lets you select music you like and create a playlist. Each track you pick gives you a chance to comment and that comment’s shared with anyone getting your tweets as well as people following you on Blip. It’s a great way of playing with music, sharing and discovering new stuff. There are a whole range of interesting/useful/crazy Twitter tools out there, too.
If you want to find out more, a great place to start is by registering for Twitter, which takes little more than going to www.twitter.com and clicking on ‘Join the conversation’. You could follow up by registering for Twestival here - if you want to do that, I suggest you extractez le digit, because it's nigh on full as I post this.
If you get to the Twestival and want to meet up, I'll be easy to find. I’ll be the one not wearing bottle-bottom glasses and a funny ‘arm hammering my head’ hat...
PS: And now, for your listening pleasure, that Catboy and Geordiebird interview. Don't blame me if you go ahead and click here!!!