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First Tweetup in Sri Lanka

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26th August 2010 was a special day for twitter users of Sri Lanka. ‘Why?’ you may ask. In order to make the 26th a special day, we need to go back to the 1st August when Lasantha David (@rebelinpurple) and Udara Madushanka (@udaraumd) decided to meet up with Moshanthi Suzuki (@moshanthi). Then Shazly Makeen (@mack005) joined in and they made an open request for anyone else to join in. And the result was the first ‘Tweetup’ in Sri Lanka.

A few more people joined in and took the role of ‘organiser’ and made sure that the Tweetup was well organized. These include our fellow diGIT contributor Amitha Amarasinghe (@amisampath), Nazly Ahmed (@nazly), Milinda Tillekeratne (@milindat).

 

 

Some of the organizers in discussion during the Tweetup

 

Participants queuing up for registration

Coca Veranda, a coffee shop at Ward Place was chosen as the lucky place to meet up. The owner Sarath Sathiamoorthy (@sarathsc) was kind enough to offer free refreshments to the large gathering.

It was a pleasure to watch as each twitter user joined in via the Twtvite site. By the 25th August over 85 users had confirmed their participation.

Even though the event was scheduled to start at 5pm, such was the enthusiasm of some that by 4pm the twittersphere was filled with tweets from some of the participants that they were already at Coco Veranda.

Each participant got hold of a free tshirt from Dialog Axiata upon registering their details.

 

A special (one time only) card was given by Coco Veranda to each of the participants (to get discounts for future visits to Coco Veranda).

 

 

Loyalty card from coco Veranda for Twitter participants

 

A few giveaways were also organized via partnership with Dialog Axiata, diGIT magazine (in association with John Wiley & Sons), WoMLanka (in association with Nokia) and Future World.

In order to make the meetup lively a few entertaining games were organized where the participants were shown twitter messages and asked to guess who said it. Gifts were given by Future World where Chandika Jayasundara (@chandika) walked away with a free iPod Shuffle. Another winner was Chandra (@himalk) who won a free dongle from Dialog Axiata.

Then there were the lucky participants who got hold of tags with special labels pasted on the back. Uditha Umesh (@udithaumesh) and Akira Suzuki (@icingphoton) got Nokia gift packs.

Malinthe, a former contributor of diGIT giving Chandika the book ‘World Wide Rave’.

Chandika Jayasundara (@chandika) (yes again!), Chamila De Alwis (@chamilad), Paheerathan (@Paheerathan), Nipuni Jayasuriya (@morbidAngel_86), Harshana Weerasinghe (@wmharshana), Deependra Ariyadewa (@Gnudeep) and Yshani Anne (@yshiromi) got a social media book (7 different titles) from diGIT magazine & Wiley (published by Wiley).

Chanuke giving Harshana ‘DigiMarketing’.

Amitha Amarasinghe giving Nipuni ‘This is social media’, a Wiley publication.

The most popular tweep and tweepie was won by Thameera Priyadarshi Senanayaka (@thameera) and Vishmi Ranathunge (@vishmir). They received giftpacks from Dialog Axiata.

SharedbySuranga@elmo_leon @keheliya @thameera @chathuras @ udithaumesh at TweetupSL

 

@UdayaLakmal @pahans @dilanrf at TweetupSL

 

All in all, the event was a great chance to meet up in person and have lively discussions with like-minded people (though ages differed). With the brief duration and many turning up, I would guess that some of the participants missed out on chatting with some. There were even a few on twitter after the event wishing they had a chance to talk in person.

Well, the good thing is that it can happen at the next tweetup. If you missed out, then do tag along when that happens. I hear there might be a cricket match tweetup. My guess is, with such a success for the first tweetup, the second one is sure to be a carnival.

 

What is twitter?

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their friends list. Users may subscribe to other author tweets—this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers.

Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

Thanks to Udara Madushanka for helping out verifying the names of some of the winners.

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W.G.T. Fernando is an author of over 15 ICT books and Founder/CEO at GTS. Gihan is a former lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. He began his education at Thurstan College before going to Wycherley International School. He graduated with Honors in Computer Science at University of Liverpool in the UK and MSc in Advanced Software Engineering at Kings College, University of London.

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