Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now It's a Twestival!

Marketing Charts had a good summary yesterday of the recent Pew Report on Twitter use (get the full report here). Marketing Charts says it’s 10% of adult Internet users and Pew says 11% of them use Twitter or a similar update source. A little rounding error between marketers is not significant—Twitter has become a phenomenon.

So I was interested when C.C. Chapman used my Facebook page to invite me to a Twestival last week. I’ve been watching from afar; it seems to be the first Twitter effort of this kind in support of the non-profit Charity:Water.

This is a personal timeline:

• I saw C. C. Chapman’s post on my Facebook page via his Feed on or about February 10. It was interesting and unusual, so I clicked through to the Boston page.
• I checked out the main site. At that time, it was inviting people to the event. It has since been updated with results.
• I found out that David Karp from First Giving was going to use it as a case history in my social media class last night. He did a great job and the students were intrigued by this application of a tool that, interestingly, few of them use. (Wonder if that’s changed since last night. . .)

• When I opened my email this morning, there was a message from Scott Harrison of Charity:Water. The content was a report on a particular well project; he does a great job of bringing home the value of contributions to his charity. He had a thank-you and update on the Twestival at the bottom.
• According to what I see there were 199 cities besides Boston that held Twestivals on February 12. That’s reach!

The people I know who were involved are part of the social media community, as I’m sure are many I don’t know. They are connected; they communicate. If you take a look at the Twestival site, you’ll see that they also know how to build a website to support this kind of global activity.
This is all food for thought. The word spread on the Internet; people attended live events around the world; Charity:Water raised at least a quarter of a million dollars. This was done with a lot of volunteer effort and some corporate sponsorship.

It used multiple social media channels (including eBay—see the Auction button; is that social?); it engaged a lot of people who actively communicate.

Probably few organizations—either non-profit or for-profit—can entirely replicate this. But they can look and learn. And one important thing to keep reminding ourselves is that no one channel reaches everyone these days. Neither does random effort. It takes a lot of work, a lot of expertise to pull off something like the first Twestival. And it helps if you have a huge network of contacts!

So go forth, and keep building your networks!

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