Houston's lively Twitter community has better things to do than putting "tw" in front of words — tweeps instead of peeps, twrld in place of world, tweenius for genius.
This community has joined a world wide effort to raise funds for Concern Worldwide on Thursday, 5:50-11pm at the Caroline Collective, home of the city's reigning twitterari, Grace Rodriguez, Matthew Wettergreen and Mandy Graessle.
With that said, who can resist something called a Twestival?
"It epitomizes using social media for social good," Rodriguez, the lead organizer, says.
The Twittersphere manages to be brief in their 140 character yelps, but their mission looms large, especially in the projects like the international and local Twestivals, which raise funds for charities. "We are not a narcissistic group, and are dedicated to making a difference in our city and worldwide," says Graessle, co-organizer and executive director of Fresh Arts Coalition. "Last year, our local Twestival raised over $2,000 for Houston Area Women's Center."
Ian Haisley, coordinator for the central region, works as a liaison between global Twestival founder, Amanda Rose, and the Twestival sites in his region, to make sure everything is on track and to keep the collective learning. "It's mind boggling how Amanda pulls everyone together. It's an impressive scale," Haisley says. "In Houston, we are a close-knit community, in the online space and in person. We know each other well in real life too."
MaryBeth Smith has attended both the local and international Twestivals and finds them different than the usual party scene. "Social media is 'social,' the power comes from the personal connections. That's the big reason why people have so much fun at Tweetups and Twestivals," Smith says. "There's a special charge in the air when you get to meet someone in real life with whom you already share an interest and connection."
And yes, the usual party necessities will be in place, beverages provided by St. Arnold's, and Red Bull, yummy bites by Beavers, BB's Cajun Cafe, Coffeegroundz, Tacos A Go-Go, and live music from such outstanding local bands as Insert Name Here (isn't that the greatest band name ever?), Wayside Drive, The Last Place you Look, Prairie Cadats and Gretchen Schmalz.
Digital Memories Photobooth will be in there too, adding to the fun factor. The event is free, but you can purchase tickets to win cool prizes for $4.
Last year, the first global twestival raised $250,000 for Charity Water, resulting in 55 wells in Uganda, Ethiopia and India, impacting 17,000 people.
Last year, 201 cities participated and more cities are joining every day for this year's events. This year's charity, Concern Worldwide, helps the needs of people living in extreme poverty by achieving major improvements in their lives.
Founded in 1968, Concern is a non-governmental and humanitarian organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty. The organizers hope to top last year's fundraising goals and again make a positive impact on the world. This is an all-volunteer effort and 100 percent of the funds go to Concern Worldwide.
Take that you Twitter naysayers!