Let me tell you what I'm all excited about today. I became a father last Friday - but you knew that I assume, wiiihaaaaauuuuw... (I'll update that part in a next post though) Anyway 'because' of this new occupation I've locked myself out of the organizing part of the Twestival last 10 or so days. Thus my involvement will be much lower than previously indicated. Anyhow, I attended a lunch meeting with the @BRUTwestival group today.
We had lunch in the Cook&Book and although their website sucks big time and is written in only french... I so-o-o love the place. Adorable. My book fetish wet dream. Cook&Book is a full range bookstore (with a fair amount of hard to find art&design books on their shelves) combined with a wine&dine (not the best restaurant you'll be attending in the Brussels area but they'll present you a menu with a varied range of options and the dishes carefully served). It's almost as if you are having lunch with the books, love it. You are allowed to take the books from their shelves and flick through them as you await your order.
Being there for lunch with about 5 or 6 other excited Tweeters was one thing, being surrounded with books of all kinds another. I was pleased to hear that the organization of the event was in full development. Nice. I felt pretty relaxed since I've done nothing but being a father and pouring out champagne for the last several days. The meeting kicked off with everybody giving up the good news one by one. Funny. As some people kept on rattling on about everything they'd done so far. Off course organizing such an event isn't all sun where the shining is. The practicals the practicals the practicals...
Anyway after going back and forth cross several practical issues. We also talked about some questions that arose as we talked about it with people from outside the organization. Questions that need answers before we really get you fire started. The Belgian Twestival organization has agreed on one clear stance: it is definitely NOT about Twitter. Sure Twitter is the social glue. Twitter is the way we connected. Twitter is the way this group found each other. So thank you Twitter, and euh thank you Evan Williams or anyone. But our goal for this Twestival is helping people out.
The focus is NOT HOW the people that want to help, do charity, connect but WHY they want to help. And they want to help because they believe that clean water is a basic need for everybody. And anyone should have free access to it. A group of people that connect because they have a mutual interest, because they fight for the same cause. In this case that cause translates in fundraising for people who are living, or is that: trying to stay alive, without decent clean water facilities.
Most of us have never really been thirsty. We’ve never had to leave our houses and walk 5 miles to fetch water. We simply turn on the tap, and water comes out. Clean. Yet more than 1.1 billion people on the planet don’t have clean water. It’s hard to imagine what a billion people looks like really, but one in six might be easier. One in six people in our world don’t have access to the most basic of human needs. Something we can’t imagine going 12 hours without. It’s hard not to think about water today. In the western world, we face growing concerns about our stewardship of the world’s most precious resource. There’s talk of shortages, evidence of reservoirs and aquifers drying up, and of course, plenty of people who simply don’t care.
So in short Twestival is a fund raising event. Organized by people that connected via Twitter. The non-profit Twestival supports is called charity:water. Charity: water is a non-profit bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Scott Harrison, the founder of the organization, made his living in the big Apple. Promoting top nightclubs and fashion events, for the most part living selfishly, thoughtlessly. Unhappy, he desperately needed a change in his life... And so the story goes.
Oh and what about the Twestival then? Why the Twitter community stuff? Well in September 2008, a group of Tweeters based in London UK decided to organize an event where the local Twitter community could meet offline, meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, have a few drinks and tie this in with a food drive and fund raising effort for a local homeless charity. The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, had close to 300 people in attendance (with a waiting list) and was able to do some good for charity in the process.
Please note that no one working on the Twestival is being paid. All the money goes to the charity. All costs are covered by sponsorships.
So thank you: ATTENTIO, BIZNESSENCE, NEW EUROPE and TARGET RECRUITMENT for being so kind to contribute, and thus support this project. But if you'll allow me — sorry can't hold myself down — please guys, talk to someone for a decent design on your websites or strategy of your online presence because the stuff I just saw clicking to your homepages makes me sick/. Sorry, again, I'm too honest.