No Twits Just Twittering

No twits just twittering

The innovations that have most altered society are often those that started with the simplest idea, like matches, umbrellas, condoms and the wheel.

It holds true, too, on the Internet. In the dizzying and often just plain dizzy world of social media&mdashwhich includes everything from Facebook to MySpace and Flickr to YouTube, Twitter may have the simplest premise: Log on to the site and answer this simple question: “What are you doing” Either way, the masses have risen in resounding force and numbers to answer the site’s query, and Twitter has fast become a communications tool that is now used to break news, share ideas and market products. It gives non-famous citizens access to politicians, movie stars and has-beens. President Barack Obama has a Twitter page, as do Lindsay Lohan, Dave Matthews and MC Hammer. Organizations from Apple to Zagat and, of course, Honolulu Weekly, all have Twitter pages. But Twitter’s real power lies in the fact that it also provides its users access to people they’ve never heard of in places they’ve never been&mdashor the people they’ve never heard of who live right down the street, for that matter. “You know, twitter is amazing,” said Nathan Kam, who is on the local organizing committee of the worldwide Twitter event, the Twestival. “We sit here in the middle of the Pacific, the most isolated landmass on Earth. But people here have strong followings on Twitter from people all over the world. We could be Twittering with people in Japan, China, other parts of the country. That’s the beauty of social media and also the scary thing&mdashhow big it can really be.” The Twestival is testament to the size and scope of the worldwide Twitter community, and proof that the interests and influence of its members extend outside of the confines of their computer monitors. The Twestival is scheduled to take place tomorrow in more than 175 cities, including Honolulu, but it’s about more than just socializing. It’s an event that aims to raise money and awareness for the 1.1 billion people on the planet who don’t have access to clean drinking water. The local Twestival invites people out for an evening of food, music and fun&mdashor as organizers put it, the opportunity to “tweet, meet and give.” One hundred percent of the $25 admission fee goes to the organization Charity: Water and its projects. Buying tickets will also get you a plate to the p&363p&363 buffet and two drinks. A reduced ticket price of $20 apiece is offered for those who buy ahead of time. Participating cities include Baltimore, Bethlehem, Glasgow, Reykjavik, Rome, New Orleans, Dubai and many, many more. Honolulu joined the Twestival just recently. “It came together in like two weeks, which is a really short period of time to plan this kind of thing,” said Kam. “For some reason, it just seems like the Twitter community is a more connected and a more willing community sometimes. The thing I love about it is that a lot of us have never met each other in real life, or IRL, but we all share this common bond through technology. It means you can ask people to help you when it’s for the right cause or for the right effort, and they will. I wasn’t completely skeptical but you can’t always put together an event in two weeks. Calling through the black book or through the rolodex might not have worked. But with Twestival, you send out a tweet, and you pull it off. Unreal.”

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