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NYC Twestival: A Retrospectacle

twestival-logo2 On Thursday, February 12, 2009, over 200 cities worldwide held events to raise money for Charity:Water, an organization to build wells for clean water in third world countries.  I am proud to have been part of the committee to run the event here in New York.

At the beginning of January, I saw a tweet on Twitter from Toby Daniels looking for a developer familiar with WordPress, which I happen to be.  Since I was looking to spread my wings, as it were, I thought helping a charity event would be a good way to get out there, so I responded.  So on a cold Saturday afternoon, I interrupted my viewing of The Breakfast Club to talk to Toby on the phone.  We were both intrigued with the proposition of working together and met a few days later in person to discuss some details.  After meeting each other, we were off and running.

Three weeks before the event, the NYC Twestival committee met for the first time in earnest.  Most of us had never met before, and over the course of two hours we were able to create the structure for our event and create a goal – to be the highest grossing Twestival event.

London was the site of the original Twestival, and the main headquarters for the worldwide event.  They were the first to sell tickets – at $5 a piece – and the first to sell out, in hours.  We realized that not only could we sell alot of tickets, but by making it a highly desirable event to be at, we could charge more.  This inspired the 20/20/20 principle for our event – Give $20 (buying a ticket), Raise $20 (by donating $20 to Charity:Water), and Tell 20 People.

The NYC Twestival was lucky, since Charity:Water is based out of New York, so Scott Harrison made it to our second meeting.  He taught us all about Charity:Water, its goals, inspirations, and plans.  It was inspiring for all of us there and really gave us a feel for what we were striving for.  We were also able to have our future meetings at the Charity:Water offices, allowing them to contribute to our event.

Over the course of the three weeks between our first meeting and the event, we met twice weekly to work on the Twestival, update each other on the status of our work and to see what the next steps were.  Over the course of these meetings, we booked M:2 as our venue, The Eclectic Method to be our main entertainment, and DJ GetLive to provide music the rest of the night.  It’s also at these meetings I got to unveil the fruits of my labor.

My contributions of the NYC Twestival went beyond simple WordPress development.  I created a live feed to appear on the screens at the event to display any twitter tweets that people tagged #nyctwestival.  I was very proud of the feed that night to see people staring up at the screen and having their words appear for everyone there to read.

With just three weeks we were able to successfully pull off all our goals except one.  Our ticket presale fell just short of 1,000, which unfortunately caused a sponsor issue.  We had promised an open bar, which we found ourselves unable to now provide, since 100% of all ticket revenue was going to Charity:Water.  We were very disappointed, but there was nothing we could do.

The event was a complete success, raising $24,000 for Charity:Water.  Everyone had an amazing time, from the attendees to the volunteers to the organizers.  An amazing party for an amazing cause.

The creation of the NYC Twestival was a magical experience.  Three weeks of hard work by a group of strangers who came together one night in January, who grew into something more.  Now I know what happens the Monday after the Saturday detention in the Breakfast Club, we have become good friends who continue to talk, hang out and enjoy each other’s company.  We will work together again on future events, but it will never recreate the experience we had creating the NYC Twestival.

NYC Twestival screen

NYC Twestival screen

To see more pics from the NYC Twestival: My Flickr Set

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