Sunday 15 February 2009

Organiser Survey

I'm just filling in a form to go to @Amanda, Twestival organiser extraordinaire, and thought as I'm writing it once, I might as well record it here too (nb. My personal thoughts, not those of the wider team):

Press and web coverage:

Liverpool Daily Post:

Bootle Times:

Radio Merseyside:

CityTalk Radio:
Pete Price show - Awaiting links
Simon O'Brien show - Awaiting links

Southport Visitor:

Crosby Herald:

Art in Liverpool blog: - Before - After

FACT blog:

Adventures in Open Source:


Click Liverpool:

P3dro's Blog:

Links to pictures and videos of the event:

Echo TV:

Flickr: - Pete Carr - Peter Goodbody - Matt Thomas - Jennifer Welch - Alison Gow and Alison Gow

Additional comments/feedback:

Would have loved to have streamed live but faced some technical challenges because of the very short lead in time.

As organiser, seemed like it all went a bit crazy about 3 days before, and I wasn't able to keep up with everything that was going on - .fm, tshirts, streaming etc. (I know it was the first!)

Would love to do it again, with more time, more team members and some choices about making it local as well as global.

Wanted to link up to other cities doing events but again, maybe next time!

In your own words, what did this experience mean to you:

Organising Twestival was an amazing experience, from initial gathering of expressions of interest through to receiving fantastic positive feedback from all involved - it has been challenging, great fun, and helped the local Twitter community to really bond.

The support and generousity of twitter folk has been quite staggering in the current financial climate, and reinforced my feeling that communities really can change the world!


Music - the three bands we had were fantastic!
Getting wider community involved, giving work experience to students through School Audio Engineering that did our sound.
Meeting the faces behind the @twitter names!
Using Bubblino to blow bubbles whenever#livtwest was detected on a twitter feed.
Auctioning Liverpool prints, and Stephen Fry's socks!

Will we have another one?

I said yes.


That's another post...!
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Saturday 14 February 2009

Review of Liverpool Twestival - Part One

I want to record what has been happening over the past few weeks, before I get onto reviewing what happened on Thursday night which is likely to be part two!

For a while now, my creative side has been itching to get out, and to some degree it can whilst at work, but not a lot. I had a feeling when thinking about New Year, and resolutions etc that this was going to be a 'big year' (as my friend Margie would say) and embraced that fact, making a decision that this was going to be the year of Yes. I even watched Jim Carrey in Yes Man over Christmas, which was reasonably good, and gave me more food for thought.

In fact, one of my resolutions was to get out more, at least once a month (posted here). Little did I know that rather than just 'getting out', before the end of Feb I'd be working with a few complete strangers to put on a party in Liverpool that would be one of 185 parties held in Cities across the world, to raise money for a very good cause - Charity:Water.

I just want to put this in context a little. I had thought about getting into Liverpool once a month to go to some gigs, having in the very far and distant past been a bit of a clubber rather than a live music person, that said - that alone would have been something very different for me.

To then volunteer (a first) to work with (not only work with, but lead) strangers that I had only previously conversed with online via Twitter, which would involve meeting up with more complete strangers was a bit random. Add to that the fact that we agreed to put on some live music, sort out an auction/raffle to raise money for charity and do quite a bit of media and PR coverage for the event - All Firsts - made it a little bit unbelievable.

Not that I'm averse to doing things for the first time you understand, I like to think of myself as innovative, and a bit quirky, but usually these things are done in quite a safe environment (i.e. work) and the one thing I love to do whatever time of day it is, is learn.

So, what have I learnt in the past month then?

Twitter is a remarkable platform for acquiring and building networks. I kinda knew this in theory, but I've seen so many examples of how powerful it is in the last few weeks that I'm qute staggered. In the words of a Stage 1 twitterer, I may be evangelising but I have strong evidence.

To be more open and trusting (within reason!) - Being cynical is so last year. I've taken my share of knocks throughout my life, and find it difficult to trust people beyond a certain level. Twestival has shown me how many good people there are out there, if only I would look for them, and the power of the community, which is hugely underestimated.

How to do a radio interview, by phone and in studio. Having appeared on CityTalk twice and the Radio Merseyside Drivetime show, I am in the words of @alisongow 'a seasoned pro'. Not sure I'd go that far, but I'll certainly know what to expect should I do it again. (It did remind me of the time I was a weather girl for Rock FM, back in the day!).
I prefer phone-in's, you can, and I did, do them in your jammies and slippers.

How to be filmed - I've now done a few pieces to camera because of this event, and whereas before I would have been so self conscious that I really would have preferred never to get in front of a camera, and have hidden behind several, focussing on the aims of the project allowed me to 'sell' the event, and hopefully come over quite calmly, rationally and not like a jibbering idiot. I'm not saying I want to watch it back, but it won't kill me.

To ask for more than I normally would - I'll say it again, I'm staggered by the generousity of the local Twitterati, and even those only slightly attached. For example, SAE sponsored the sound techs and equipment. This came about because I asked @paulnolan1980 to help (on @sicktrumpet's recommendation), not only did he help, he brought along another colleague, then we discussed having two students who would gain work experience in on the act too. Having had no experience, and no real idea of what kind of kit would be needed, Paul and Doug soon informed me that we were short of kit to the tune of about £300 (hire fees).

At this stage, I'd asked the bands to play, who were giving me requirements, we'd started publicity about the event and we working with a zero budget. Oo-er...

I, very cheekily, asked Paul and Doug to ask SAE for the equipment. They said the answer would be no. I departed from that meeting quite deflated, thinking that this might be the deal breaker. No equipment, no gig - not the end of the world I know, but not what we'd hoped for either.

Thankfully, SAE stepped in to save the day with most of the kit, and Edge Hill Uni kindly lent some too.

That I'm quite bored - and if I could fit all of this in, in 3 weeks then what else could I be doing in my spare time?

That I have confidence - I was waiting for someone to give it to me, those that know me will think i'm being melodramatic, thinking I had it all along, but I really didn't realise that I had. Well, I've found it now, and I'm not letting go of it.

I've been reminded that I love music and art, love socialising, love photography, love being challenged, love life and somewhere in the mix, most of that had got lost.

I'm sure there is much more, and I'm trying to document this as reminder to self. It has been an absolute blast. I know Andy Goodwin and Alison Gow don't think that they did very much in all of this, but you did guys, you played a huge part in it, as I couldn't have done it without you. And it is a lovely feeling to think that I made at least two new friends in all of the mayhem and madness! x

Images: Pete Carr and Jennifer Welch

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Sunday 8 February 2009

Twitter and Twits

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

I've been meaning to get to the keys for a while now, but have been crazee busy organising Liverpool's first Twitter festival - or Twestival.

This week has seen quite a few firsts for me, from speaking to sound guys (i didn't have a clue!), to doing radio interviews, and responding to articles in the Independant (about Twitter) so thought I should just share some of that.

Before I made the opportunity to do so - Mike Nolan wrote a great piece on 'Has Twitter gone mainstream' which was going to be the crux of my piece - so go there and read it, and then my comments!

So many work related opportunites for using Twitter, so little time and as with anything, how we prove that this will add value, in order to release staffing to be able to support it upfront. And if we don't release staffing to support it, it'll be crap because it hasn't been supported! A vicious circle if ever there was one.

My beef with the piece in the Independant was first of all the title, 'You don't have to be a Twit but it helps' and secondly that the author seemingly fixated on one instance of how Twitter had been used, by one celebrity (@stephenfry) and discarded all of the 'good stuff' that goes on.

By good stuff, I mean the business networking, the social networking, the learning and teaching, the getting togethers to raise money for charity, the direct routes to people that you'd never have been able to access before... and the list goes on.

You can see my full ranty comment here. This article instigated quite a reaction from twitterers everywhere, and as some kindly pointed out to Terence, the article got a great deal of coverage because someone had linked to it on Twitter - had they not, I certainly would never had come across it.

Terence says "It is time to admit that computers, which have transformed and improved our lives in so many ways, are also doing terrible harm to much human interaction and thought. There are increasing numbers of people who find it easier to conduct friendships through Facebook than to leave their computer and spend time with real, flesh-and-blood friends. The fretful banality of round-the-clock texting and twittering is drowning out real communication and thought."

As you can imagine, this provoked quite a reaction including:

"Why do people like Terence always assume that online & offline friendships are mutually exclusive? I find Facebook *helps* my real life interactions - it's so much easier to organise stuff online than to rely on the old 'chinese whispers' messages which invariably end in miscommunication. Also, I have friends from all over the world that I have met while travelling - the internet allows us to keep up with each others' lives. Being able to talk with people on the other side of the world using the Internet is wonderful."

I feel particularly strongly about this - as increasingly in this very busy global world, applications such as facebook and twitter allow the beginning of a conversation, that might not ever take place 'in real life'. Certainly in my experience, I have got to know several distant colleagues through twitter, and in the absence of a direct relationship before, twitter has enhanced the real life experience.

In addition, and from a personal perspective, as a mum who spends many evenings home alone, using sites such as facebook and twitter allow me to continue conversations, not just with my 'real life' friends, but with a much wider audience. Being able to tap into knowledge that others have, and are willing to share, enhances many aspects of my life.

As with all technology - it won't work for everyone, and you do really need to stick at it and work out what you want from it, but Twitter works for me, and thousands upon thousands of others. And to finish, all I'll say is - don't knock it 'till you've tried it..

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