I am usually one of the first to say that Twitter is great, and I love building friendships there. I can get to know, and share information with, people on the other side of the world in a way that I have never before been able to. But relationships on Twitter can only go so far. To build deeper personal or professional relationships you need to take it to other channels such as email or Skype, and then ultimately offline, which is where far deeper friendships are built. This is something I have been realising ever since my good friend (on and offline) Rob took me along to my first Devon Social Media Cafe and now, one of the things I take great enjoyment from is putting a face to an avatar.
One of the brilliant things about social media is that it allows you to meet like minded people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet elsewhere. This means that when it comes to taking online friendships offline, you already have something in common with them and that initial awkwardness isn’t there.
Ok, so where am I going with this? Some of you may have noticed a new addition to my left hand menu <<< This is the logo for Plymouth Twestival 2011, which I am involved in this year. You may have also noticed the #plymtwest hashtag appearing in my Twitter stream on a regular basis. If you are following me on Twitter and aren’t from Plymouth, please bear with me until PlymTwest has finished, I will do my best not to clog up your streams! Twestival is a global event with cities around the world simultaneously putting on events on the 24th March to raise money for local charities of their choosing.
The idea of working with people that I have met on Twitter is something that has appealed to me since I joined back in September 2009, as is the idea of working with them on a common purpose that is higher than any one of us individually. Through my day job I have long been a believer that workers are most engaged and motivated when there is a higher purpose than what they do. This is where PlymTwest comes in.
PlymTwest has given me the opportunity to get to know people I have met online, as well as meeting others who have extended my online network, whilst working towards a higher purpose of raising money and awareness for a worthy cause. This year we are raising money and awareness for Chestnut Appeal, a local charity that is doing a tremendous job raising awareness of Prostate cancer in Devon and Cornwall.
Meeting people offline for the first time can be awkward, but the common goal that Twestival gives you helps to break down those barriers. Twestival is the perfect opportunity to make more links in your local community, strengthen some online relationships and to use social media for social good. I thoroughly recommend finding and getting involved in your local Twestival, whether it be through volunteering your services or time, or just by enjoying the festivities on the day. You can find your local Twestival here.
If you’re in Plymouth, head over to the Plymouth Twestival website to keep up-to-date with our progress and the festivities that are planned, or tweet us at @twestivalplym if you would like to get involved – the more the merrier! For an idea of what might happen this year, check out the fun we had last year by watching this.
If you’re involved in a Twestival this year, why not say hi below and tell others why they should be getting involved!