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Honolulu Twestival Raises Over $7,000

February 13th, 2009 by Ryan Ozawa · 9 Comments · Events, Hawaii, Social Media, The Web

The Honolulu Twestival was yesterday. I was one of the organizers. It figures that after I implored everyone to help publicize it, the event is over by the time I mention it for the first time here.  But where I fell short, many others excelled, and the evening was a fantastic success.  Our goal was to raise $4,000. We raised that much in ticket sales alone.

Add in a $1,000 anonymous donation, a $1,000 donation from AIG Hawaii, direct donations via the charity: water website, sales of charity: water merchandise, and money leftover from our many generous event sponsors, the final tally will be over $7,000.

It’s unbelievable that something like this could come together in two weeks. Can I just say again? Two weeks. Two weeks to find a venue, find good food, find great musicians to volunteer their time, promote the event, organize the program, and be ready to have 200 people stream in the door to have a good time.

When Vernon Brown, L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine and I first started talking about the global Twestival event, we absolutely muted our expectations. Maybe a potluck at a community center? A meetup at a hotel restaurant? We thought we’d draw a couple dozen folks, throw some money in a hat, and have a good time.

That was Jan. 27. By nightfall, Jan. 28, we’d talked ourselves into going for broke. We took “social media for social change” to heart. We wanted to raise the standard “city goal” of $4,000, so Honolulu could drill a well for a community that needs clean, safe, drinking water — something we in Hawaii often take for granted.

As with any successful event, obviously it took the help of several passionate volunteers and great local sponsors. What’s exciting to me is that its genesis, and much of its organization, happened on Twitter. And that planning and promotion took place at lightning speed. (I’m still a little dizzy.)  Many of us had never met. We were just avatars and usernames on a simple web service. But we could feel our innate connections, our shared goals, and jump in to make things happen without hesitation.

There are businesses on Twitter that stepped up to sponsor us. Local media personalities on Twitter that were enlisted to emcee. Musicians and friends of musicians that saw the great cause and gave, not only their talent and time, but equipment as well. And over a dozen individuals, ranging from college students to Realtors to engineers, found a need and filled it.

Good news, bad news, and lots of trivia and frivolity travels at light speed on Twitter. Fortunately, so do good works.

We accomplished a lot in very little time, and what we lacked in event planning experience we more than made up for with enthusiasm and cooperation. And we surpassed our goal. And we all had a lot of fun doing it.

Social media is more than just “playing around” on the internet. It’s more than a revolution for technology, education, entertainment, and every other industry out there. Social media is a substantial and powerful force for change. And we’ve proven it, right here in Hawaii.

Many, many people were vital to making this event happen. I’m immensely grateful for everyone’s energy and generosity. I’m also hoping to sleep for 24 hours straight.

(As if.)

Want to watch the Honolulu Twestival from beginning to end, from the perspective of my laptop near the back of the club?  Here you go.  Enjoy, in particular, the antics of several attendees toward the end of the event, when the webcam and their blood alcohol content became increasingly visible.

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