Tweeters Flock Together
Story and Photos by Afsaneh Zaeri
One social media platform is sparking a worldwide initiative.
Twitter is where witty one-liners take refuge. It’s a platform for sharing newsbytes with friends, acquaintances and interesting strangers. It has scored students internships, given musicians a chance to interact with their fans and informed locals about events in their hometown. And at least one day a year Twitter becomes the springboard for a global fundraising initiative.
The event is called Twestival, (yes, that’s a combination of Twitter and festival) and it’s a chance for people to meet up offline with online friends, while simultaneously supporting a great cause.
Des Moines tweeters met up on March 24 at Mars Café to grab wings, pizza and beer, and to give back to the Evelyn Davis Early Learning Academy, a local preschool. Twestival participants used the hashtag #TwestivalDSM to see their Twitter handle on a screen projector in the cafe. Together, these savvy socialites raised over $1,000 to benefit the foundation.
The idea for Twestival first came to Amanda Rose, world traveler and founder of the Connect the Dots Foundation, in 2008. Since its inception, Rose has remained focused on the big picture. “I wanted to strengthen [community building] by giving people a common purpose to support a great cause,” says Rose.
Twestival’s website launched in 2009. Now, Twestivals are organized in 200 cities, from Mumbai to Moscow, all through the efforts of volunteers. In the three years since Twestival began, $1.75 million has been raised to benefit hundreds of charities around the world.
For Rose, it’s not only the money that’s gratifying, but also the enduring process of community building that develops as a result of annual Twestival events. “I am touched to hear when organizers have continued to volunteer with their local nonprofits by building websites or consulting on social media,” says Rose. “Twestival is just the spark that can be continued by the community.”
Get connected with Amanda Rose and some of the top Des Moines professionals who helped make this year’s Twestival a success!
Amanda Rose: @amanda
Twestival Des Moines: @TwestivalDSM
Renda Lutz: @RendaInDSM
John Stineman: @jstineman
Matt Shwery @mshwery
Larry James, owner of @marscafe
Bonnie Swanson @SwansonBonnie
Cody Prachar @codiprachar
Holly Worthy: @hworthy
Jason Wells: @jdub2131