‘Tweep’ing it real !

Oragnisers of Tweetup SL in conversation with the Mirror Magazine

Tweeting is a skill. A good tweet can be a marvel of literary expertise - being entertaining, informative, hilarious and altogether captivating in just 140 characters has to count as an accomplishment. Still, is your favourite Tweep as dazzling in person? Last Saturday, nearly 300 of Sri Lanka’s finest had the chance to find out.

Tweetup SL was born when @moshanthi, @rebelinpurple and @udaraumd were discussing meeting up for coffee, says @rebelinpurple, a.k.a Lasantha David. He credits user @moshanthi with the suggestion – one that is forever commemorated in this screenshot of the exact tweet - http://www.twitpic.com/2k5dpi .

“Things just took off from there with more people catching on to the idea, and 7 of us organized the event. The other organizers being @cocoveranda, @mack005, @amisampath, @nazly and @milindat,” says Lasantha.

Organising the event was quite the challenge – especially since it was something the team were pulling together in their spare time. Making the move from the web to the real world isn’t always an entirely smooth undertaking. “There is always an initial moment or two of awkwardness, because you never
know what to expect person or personality wise, since you’ve always been use to maybe an avatar of them and their tweets,” says Lasantha. Still, that initial hesitancy was quickly overcome the first time, and by this, the second Tweetup, more and more Twitter users are turning off their computers to meet up in person – of course many were still twittering from their mobile phones, for the benefit of those of us who couldn’t be there.

While Twitter with its follower and following count offers a brutal estimation of a particular Tweep’s popularity, the Tweetup gathering honoured their own heroes.

“They really got everything going in terms of hype and interaction,” says Lasantha, explaining that there were different categories, and voting was done via the tweetupsl website, one vote per tweep.

TweetupSL Mr.Tweep, Tweetaholic of the Year and Twentertainer of the Year went to @gayanmw, while TechTweep of the Year was @chathuraw. TweetupSL Miss.Tweep was @junginangi and @ssudaraka was dubbed The Funniest Tweep. @indica got voted The Most Informative Tweep while @thameera was widely considered The Most Controversial Tweep.

The event’s partners loaded their guests with gifts. Give-aways included Dialog handing out dongles to some of the category winners, Gihan Bookshop giving away books to winners and special notebooks to everyone who came, Cocoveranda providing the catering free, Perera and Sons giving away vouchers to category winners and Bloomroom giving away roses to all the ladies, says Lasantha.

Both those who made it and those who didn’t are looking forward to next year’s Tweetup – the organizers say they hope to make a tradition of holding it either on the 26th or the 27th, so why don’t you just mark your calendars, already.

Tweetup SL2 at a glance

TweetUp SL 2, saw almost 250 tweeps attend this time around, more or less double the numbers from the first Tweetup held last year. The event kicked off with everyone super hyped about the proceedings and it for sure did not disappoint. While meeting all the real faces behind the tweets, everyone came to know each other as they were - among the crowd were software developers, journalists, photographers, artists, students and others from diverse backgrounds, gathered at the event from across the island, all twitterholics a like. It was pretty much like being on twitter, only very real this time.

The main event of TweetUp SL 2 was the final result of the polls carried out on twitter previously for various states of twitterholism. Tweeps from around Sri Lanka took part in the polls voting in for their favourite, in eight different categories; Twitterholic, Tech Tweep , Twentertainer, Funniest Tweep, Most informative Tweep, Most controversial Tweep, Mr .Tweep and Ms. Tweep.

Considering the fact that the organizers were full time working professionals, Indulekha Nanayakkara, speaks about how they managed to get the job done, “Organizing the TweetupSL wasn’t easy, considering our busy schedules. But thanks to technology and social media we managed to squeeze in the little time we had into Gmail, Google docs and of course Twitter! We met up only a couple of times when it was absolutely necessary. Everything else was done online.”

This brings to light how fine the internet infrastructure and well connected the online community of Sri Lanka really is despite the hiccups on internet speed. Mobile broadband has in fact created a community, interdependent of each other online, which inevitably is the way forward.

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