Twitter, the micro-blogging service, has been a global phenomenon since some time now and it had really caught my attention during the tragic demise of Michael Jackson. I had read it everywhere… Twitter as the fastest source of information and communication today… and about the Twitter servers crashing during the news surge on the sudden loss of the King of Pop. I was also very interested to hear about the power of social media in both ‘United breaks guitars’ and Kiruba – Cleartrip incidents. I have heard enough of Twitter and then decided to check out of what the craze is all about… registered myself as a twitter user, to be known by the twitter handler @tinucherian. My interest grew when I saw many of my fellow Wikipedians and the celebrities using twitter. I also sensed twitter as a tool to reach out to the people who may share similar interests with me. I was excited to see my followers list on twitter increasing day by day.
I started to follow people whom I knew already and some others who are referred to in their tweets (as a twitter message is popularly called). It wasn’t a surprise for me to see a huge number of tweeters (as Twitter users are called) in the IT capital, Bangalore; many of them being techies. I also started to follow those people whom I found interesting info in their tweets and those who are interesting to follow. Tweeting soon became a kind of addiction, with me doing over 30-40 tweets per day. I started talking about what I do, interesting information of my company Juniper Networks’ products and my Wikipedia activities. Hitherto, I never realized that life can be said in just 140 characters.
A few days back, I saw a tweet from Atul Chitnis (@achitnis), that a real life meetup of twitters called Tweetup is going to happen very soon in Bangalore. I quickly filled up the online registration form, not to miss the opportunity of meeting people mostly whom I have met only in the virtual world of Twitter. After the success of the recent Wikipedia Bangalore WikiMeetup, I was very excited to meet such passionate internet enthusiasts in real life. This Tweetup was hosted by Deepak Rajinkanth (@d33pak), Bhavya Siddappa (@bhavis), Sweta Sharma (@sweta6) and Bhupendra Khanal (@leplan) on Aug 8th 2009, at Café Coffee Day, Opp UB City, Vittal Mallya Road, Bangalore. I was actually very tired after attending the Startup Saturday event at IIM, Bangalore in the morning , but didn’t want to miss this interesting get-together at any cost. I arrived at 6 pm, exactly on time, a habit I lost sometime after marriage . Of the 90+ people who had registered, there were only 4 of them present at the venue, which made me wonder whether I am so early? Deepak, Bhavya, Sweta and a Volvo employee were those who were already there and we introduced each other. Were the organizers worried of the possible low turnout since they had informed CCD of at least 50 people will come? Bhavya, an IBM techie who returned from Pune recently, told about the 60+ ppl Tweetup in Pune and was expecting this event to be India’s largest Tweetup. Soon we saw people flowing in for the event.
After Bhavya set the ground rules for the event, it was the turn of the rest of the gathering to introduce them selves. When Bhavya introduced herself, I commented that she didn’t do it in 140 characters, the maximum length of a tweet. It was nice meeting Bhupendra Khanal, CEO of InRev Systems and a twitter (@leplan) who has one of largest twitter following in India. Bhupan narrated his twitter experiences, why he choose this unique username and how he started getting lots of twitter followers. Sweta is also the co-founder and COO of the same company.I don’t think any platform other than twitter would bring in together both Atul Chitnis (@achitnis), an open source evangelist and Vijay Raj (@msigeek), a hard core Microsoft Windows freak. Although I knew Atul via Wikipedia and twitter, this is the first time I am meeting him in person, a legend himself. I couldn’t stop laughing when a person next to Atul asked him “What do you do?” I overheard his answer “I do lots of things…” (Atul blushed). Sitting next to me was Viswanath (@zenrainman), an environmentalist, who tweets on ecological architecture and rainwater harvesting. Viswanath commented, “It is a small world” when he came to know that one of the twitter users present was his friend’s brother. Yes, I think platforms like twitter brought the small world even smaller. Vijay Raj’s (@msigeek) laptop stickers reminded of me of rally cars, lol. Rajesh (@bigrjs) came to the event all the way from his home at Jayanagar, cycling…Wow, what a fitness freak and humility too, he introduced himself as a random guy. Some of the others who were present were Sreenath Manickom (@trans_traveller), Saravanan T (@talk2saravanan), Shreyas of RadioVeRVe fame (@sshreyas), Vijay Rayapati (@amnigos), Sambhav Jain (@sambhav),Abhinav Sahai (@abhinavsahai), Binoy Xavier (@binoyxj), Soham Mondal (@SohamMondal), Manish Modi (@manish_modi), Pranav Moktali (@mokpro), Devaraj (@devav2) and Arun Karn (@arunkarn). Forgive me for missing some of the names of the ~30 people who attended, I have a bad habit of forgetting names. Please tweet me if you were present at the event and I missed your name.
Atul had tweeted Bhavya earlier “Bangalore is a “60% city” … If 50 of 90 registered people show up today, it’s a success …”. During the meet, he commented, “I don’t know if this is the largest Tweetup, but it certainly is the loudest” That’s because CCD was so loud, we have to be even louder… I decided to throw some questions to sparkle some discussions. To begin with, I asked “Does twitter reduce your pr
oductivity?” The background of my question was my own experience of keep looking at Twitter every now and then, since when I got addicted to the new obsession… While most people nodded their heads, Vijay Raj narrated his funny story of losing 2 hours trying to find who the girl is who had recently followed him on twitter. Soon the ice was broken and thoughts flowed from one topic to another and everybody was so eager to narrate their experiences with Twitter. Even the Kriba-Cleartrip and United Airlines incidents came to debate. Atul said that @cleartrip had already established in social media even before the @Kiruba incident. They handled it well and the incident just reinforced their Social Network savyness. He continued… @cleartrip actually gives much useful information rather than being a helpdesk or a social media promotional exercise. Sambhav Jain (@sambhav), a marketer, who also maintains the Kingfisher Twitter accounts, asked us of what we expect from the brands on social media. Someone commented that some people use twitter to blackmail/pressurise companies into giving freebies.
Somebody wanted to know what’s twitter’s business model and possible source of income. Someone was of opinion that to not to be surprised if twitter goes the Google way. I think he was suggesting the user targeted advertisements on the twitter. Discussion came on about bosses and companies watching their employees over twitter, and the employees being worried about that. @msigeek asked “Do you like your boss to follow in twitter?”. Atul said both he and Shreyas tweets but he doesn’t interfere on things like this and maintains a good working relationship. When I asked whether any companies have a twitter and social media policy, a few raised their hands. The recent DDoS attacks on twitter came into conversation.
I partially agree with Atul commenting on twitter that he finds the attitude of CCD a bit offensive, me also seeing the CCD men trying to pushing us to buy more of their products. ..Ha, after all they are allowing their valuable space in Bangalore free to host the event and this is the only source for them to recover it back.
When I complained of me exhausting my twitter API, Atul joked that then I am possibly using twitter for marketing purposes and he should probably un-follow me…I was also curious to know some of them among the crowd actually working on developing applications on Twitter API. I should probably try my hand to build my own custom twitter application since I don’t like the last 200 updates only limit on TweetDeck, a twitter application which I primarily use. This otherwise keeps me looking on Twitter more often so that I don’t miss the tweets of those I follow. Some of the crowd named their popular twitter applications. Vijay Rayapati (@amnigos) wanted to know how many uses multiple ids on twitter. Saravanan T (@talk2saravanan) said he uses 3 accounts for three things @talk2saravanan (personal) @perlsaran (opensource) @bhavishya_india ( NGO bhavishya). @amnigos seemed happier to hear when there are many people who uses multiple twitter accounts. GAWD, how do they do that? I struggle with @tinucherian account alone , which takes up lots of my time. Some said they stopped blogging after coming to twitter. @amnigos explained how twitter makes blogging very simple and that we even use tweets to broadcast our blogs.
Bhavya wondered whether men would appreciate their wife or girlfriend tweeting about their personal life. I suggested her to convince my wife first that using Wikipedia and Twitter is actually a good thing . @achtnis expressed that her daughter is curious to see his tweets. I asked the crowd what are the features that they would like to see in twitter. Somebody suggested I could send the list to twitter itself.It was funny seeing Bhavya, deep, Vijay Raj and sweta pulling each other’s legs. The CCD was so loud and I struggled to hear what Bhupan, sitting on the other side of the circle, was saying.
It was now 8 pm then, I needed badly to rush back home. Since morning I was mostly out of home. The rain had just stopped and people wanted to now get back to their homes and I decided to follow suit. The event was a great success … I enjoyed every moment of it and I am sure that the rest of the participants also share the same sentiments. Special thanks again to Deepak, Bhavya and Shewta for taking this noble initiative and bringing us together. Thanks to @achtnis @msigeek and @talk2saravanan whose live tweets were used as inputs to this blog entry. Thanks to @msigeek for capturing wonderful images of the event. Ha, next time, do turn on the red eye reduction on your camera …Deciding to meet more often, we all returned to our homes. Indeed, I am looking forward to attend more of such tweetups.
Cherian Tinu Abraham is a Technology Professional from Bangalore, India. He is a blogger , Social Media Enthusiast And an active Wikipedian & Wikipedia administrator.
Cherian Tinu Abraham
- Dreamer, Confused pseudo geek , Software Engineer, Highly active Wikipedian and Wikipedia Admin, Social Media Enthusiast .
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