Yesterday saw the first ever Preston tweetup. A tweetup is basically a gathering of people, brought together by twitter. Prior to the event I wasn’t sure about the proposed format. As mentioned by someone else, splitting into groups to discuss a particular topic did indeed seem school-like.
However, it just goes to show that these things shouldn’t be pre-judged. It turned out to be a great event and I certainly enjoyed myself. My prior concerns had been related to the disconnected nature of discussion in segregated groups. Actually, though, the groups provided a focus and direction – the same old discussion you get from any social event still happened. In fact it seemed to torrent and no one seemed unwilling to have their say.
Twitter was embraced throughout the evening, aided by a full-screen projection of http://www.twitterfall.com for the #prestontweetup hash tag. This turned out to be an effective whispering tool during presentations and helped people who couldn’t be there in person to keep up with what was going on.
For me, this really demonstrates the effectiveness of twitter. It was used pre-event for arrangements. It was used during the event to facilitate a distributed access to what was happening and it is now being used post-event to feed back and talk about the next one.
Reflecting on the event, it was insightful to see an event where conversation was indeed that – conversing with peers without heavy debate or argument. Perhaps it was the subject area, perhaps the people, perhaps the cool name.
So, in conclusion I’d like to point out my observations about why I think this event went well. At a typical social event such as this, an individual is usually either speaking or listening. When applied to a group situation, there are more people and so one tends to get the chance to voice their opinions much less frequently. In my experience, this tends to make one hold onto their thought/argument until they get the chance to voice it – while not properly listening to the evolution of the conversation. When they finally get the chance to voice their thought it’s not as relevant as when they thought of it – and tends to bring the conversation back to where it was a couple of minutes ago. During a tweetup, people are not just speaking or listening – they’re tweeting too.
Twitter in this case provided another outlet for voicing an opinion on the common theme and I saw many occasions where people tweeted their idea instead of waiting for an ‘in’ to actually voice it. On the other hand, people were listening to those speaking while also listening to those tweeting. I liked this third entry into group conversation and it made for a really cool first #prestontweetup.
Thanks to prestonblog and stage9marketing for great event.