Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When Social Media Becomes a Social Cause: Twestival 09

This is no Twestivus for the Rest of Us kind of faux affair. A group of dedicated, savvy volunteers have leveraged Twitter's microblogging power to host Raleigh's own Twestival on Thursday, February 12. Here are the deets. This a the grand dame of Tweetups, with charity at its heart. Our goal is to raise money to provide access to clean drinking water to people around the world.

H2O. The same stuff we flush away without a care. The same stuff we waste down the drain as we let hoses run amok and taps drip to their own deafening cadence. The same stuff we mindlessly guzzle from bottles, fountains (or bubblers as they say in Wisconsin), refrigerators, Brita pitchers, faucets. Charity: Water.

Thursday's soiree promises to be fun and above all, uplifting. Food, cocktails, Wii, networking, and best of all, meet your favorite tweeple face to face. Tickets are only $11.40 if you purchase tickets online in advance, or $14 on day of, $20 at door. Did I mention the awesome chow and cocktails that are included in that ticket price? Did you catch what I said about the cause we're supporting? Clean dirnking water, people. The stuff we take for granted every. single. day.

On Thursday 12 February 2009, Twestival is going global. The flagship event will be
rocking out in London, with simultaneous events happening in major Twitter cities around the
world. Look at us, little ole Raleigh. A major Twitter city!

Here's some more information from Twestival's official website:

charity: water - Everyone in the world deserves safe, clean drinking water.
Right now 1.1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s one in six of us. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours everyday to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Additionally, collecting water puts them at a greater risk of sexual harassment and assault. Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe drinking water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old. The same as my Bird and Deal.

charity: water and how they work:
charity: water is a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of the money raised goes to direct project costs, funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need. They also work to raise awareness of the water crisis through events, fundraising exhibitions and other public awareness campaigns.

Since it’s foundation in 2006, charity: water has funded the construction of more than 600 wells that, when completed, will provide clean drinking water to 250,000 people. And they are just getting started.

I have seen firsthand the effects of lack of clean water. Scratch that. Make that the effects of polluted, foul, smelly, diseased water. Images of those villagers haunt me still. It is heartbreaking to see people, fellow mothers and fathers and children, succumb to desperation and illness just because they lack the one basic thing our bodies need, the very thing that comprises 75% of our very being.

Can't snag a sitter or sneak away from work to join us at Raleigh's Twestival? Fret not, my friends. You can simply click here to make a difference. Imagine if it were your child dying from a simple lack of water. Imagine not doing anything at all.

Tweet. Meet. Give. We're going to change the world one tweet at a time.
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