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The most highlighted event of the Twitter community of Sri Lanka in 2013 – #TweetupSL4 was held on 7th December at Mercantile Cricket Association Ground with the participation of over 500 tweeps. There had been many conversations around how good the event was.  Since there were many talking of the success of the event, we thought of  unveiling the hardworking committee behind this major event.

#TweetupSL4 had  nine organizers who were from various backgrounds with one common element, which was their passion for social media. The organizing committee included @UdaraUMD @MoAwesomeSauce @GihanGamos @Gopiharan @UdithaUmesh @HimalKK @Chamara @rebelinpurple and myself (@hajara_).

One of the founders of #TweetupSL, @UdaraUMD who is proud about the journey of #TweetupSL says:

“It was the 4th time that I was involved in organizing TweetupSL. I never thought this event would go this far when we did come up with the first TweetupSL way back in 2010. It grew year by year and tweeple are always eagerly waiting to attend it.”

He is right, none of the tweeps would have thought that #TweetupSL would become an annual event, but thanks to the anticipation of tweeps and committed organizing committee, it has become the most popular annual event among the Sri Lankan Twitter community. Another founding member of TweetupSL team, @rebelinpurple says,

‘It really is humbling and pleasing to see how far TweetupSL has come, from nearly 70 attendees in 2010 to the over 500 last month.’

Organizing an event of this scale requires huge commitment and there was one person who kept reminding all the orgainzers about their pending duties. He is none other than @MoAwesomeSauce. If not for his follow ups, most of us would not have put in such an effort and he says:

“Organizing an event of this magnitude isn’t easy and will never be easy. But then again, being able to work with an awesome team who contributed in any way possible to make this event a success, did help to pull it off. This year we faced many difficulties in terms of finding the time to dedicate ourselves to get this off the ground, finalizing a venue and date and finally securing the right sponsors. Once these major obstacles were overcome, it was smooth sailing ahead till the actually event took place.’

There were new faces in the team who were not involved in organizing previous TweetupSL events. For them it was a new experience, but they were able to fit in perfectly well among all the odds. One of the newcomers to the team, @Gopiharan says:

“At first I wasn’t sure whether I would fit into the team, but eventually I liked being part of something exciting. It was a great experience, even though my contribution was relatively low. For me, it was more about learning from the awesome team.”

@UdithaUmesh also added:

“As a person who is coming from an analytical and consulting background it was great to be a part of a volunteer driven nationwide event like TweetupSL. This set a different tone to my personal day to day activities which is why it was exciting. There was lot of experience gathered by being a part of this team. “

For the organizers, it was all about the experience that they got and also the fun of being a part of a great team. @GihanGamos says :

“It was indeed a pleasure to be back with the TweetupSL team in brainstorming and organising an entertaining and fun filled event. It was great to work with the team with new faces who did an immense contribution towards making the event a success. Look forward to many more TweetupSL events in the coming years to bind together a closer knit family of tweeps.”

However, being an organizer of TweetupSL is not easy, when all of organizers are employed full time. For the participants, the event day was all about networking, but for the organizers it was all about making sure a smooth flow of the event occured. Commenting on the experience, @UdithaUmesh says :

‘Being a part of the organizing committee of an event like this is in one word was exciting. But I must say, on the day of the event it was exhausting.’

And @Gopiharan believes that the learning experience should continue to make future events better :

‘The event may not have been perfect due to various challenges we encountered, but it sure has taught us what to avoid and where to focus more, if we end up organizing again.’

This is not the end, concluding note from @UdaraUMD says:

“May #TweetupSL live long !”

In case you missed out in attending, view the video here

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A section of the participants

InstaMeets are a way for Instagram users to meet the fellow Instagrammers in real life; discuss their favorite filters, exchange tips, or just take photos together. As part of the InstaMeetSL, the first edition of InstaMeetCMB was held on the 16th December 2013 (Monday). If you had read our earlier article, the plan was to meet at the Maradana Railway Station and to explore the areas surrounding the station including the Railway Yard. As planned, most of the Instagrammers turned up at the location before 4.15 PM and got their platform tickets and ventured into the station. The Maradana Railway Station is one of the busiest in Sri Lanka, and on a usual day it would have been really hard for us to get around at that time of the day. But thankfully, 16th was a public holiday and it was the perfect day to explore the station and the surroundings.

Mission Maradana

Maradana Railway Station

Maradana Railway Station

The first phase of the meetup went smoothly. All the participants were busy doing what they loved to do – Instagramming. It was also great to meet so many interesting people in real life and have a chat. Sri Lankan Instagram community is quite small for the moment and such a meetup was an ideal event to meet like minded individuals from various walks of life. Discussions were also related to photography, using different filters in Instagram etc. After moving around the station premises, the team decided to venture further towards the Railway Yard. The day being a public holiday didn’t mean it was a holiday for trains. They were busy keeping to their schedule as usual. And the participants made sure they were cautious enough to keep away from the tracks.

A section of the participants inside the station.

A section of the participants inside the station. (picture courtesy: Dulith Kasun)

Meanwhile, exploring the Yard that housed many used engines did not turn out well though. Since only Railway officials were usually allowed to enter those premises, participants were required to get prior permissions to explore the place. I guess this also involves paying fees (not small amounts), if anyone wanted to have a “photo shoot”. (I’m not sure whether Instagramming is counted as a photo shoot, though. Well, obviously, you can’t debate that with the Railway official, who has so many other things to worry about). The person at the yard informed he can’t allow us in since we did not have the required permission. Well, we were expecting this sooner or later. So the team decided switch to plan B: to leave Maradana and to explore the streets of Pettah!

The Pettah Mission

It did not take much time on the traffic-free streets to reach Pettah. The meeting point was Khan Clock Tower, that marks the entrance to the famous Pettah Market. The clock tower has a history of it’s own. According to sources it was built in 1923. It was built by the family of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan. This Parsi family of Mumbai had business ventures in Ceylon back in the days and the “clock tower and fountain was erected in memory of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan by his sons Bhikhajee and Munchershaw Framjee Khan as a token of affectionate gratitude and dedicated through the Municipal Council to the citizens of Colombo”. (The fountain does not function anymore).

A roadside vendor in Pettah.

A roadside vendor in Pettah. (Picture courtesy: Halik Azeez)

From there teams split into groups and set out to have the photo walk on the not so crowded but still busy streets of the shopping capital. Few walked towards the Leyden Bastian Road (that leads to the entrances of Port, Grand Oriental Hotel and the Police Headquarters) and York Street areas to capture the beauty of old colonial buildings while others set out along the Main Street and the cross streets. The streets were crowded but not to the extend of what you see on regular days. But since it was the festive season, we could see many colourful shops selling decorative items etc. Participants had so much to see and explore From old buildings, resting “Nattamis”, busy vendors, to stray cats. And this involved so much of photographing and Instagramming.

Time to rest.

Time to rest. (picture courtesy: Ashen Monnankulama)

And after a while we decided it was time to finish the event when it started to fall dark. We all met at Prince Street and had few group photographs taken.  Later, the members exchanged ideas on pictures taken. It was unanimously decided that we should have this kind of meetups very often. With that note we all set out to our homes.

For those who missed the event, and those who want to explore the beautiful instagraphs captured that day, you can search the #InstaMeetSL and #InstaMeetCMB hashtags on the Instagram app and enjoy. If you want to see them on the web, check out the following links: http://web.stagram.com/tag/instameetsl/?vm=grid and http://web.stagram.com/tag/instameetcmb/?vm=grid

The event attracted more than 20 participants who actively use Instagram. It was fun to have chats and take pictures while walking around and exploring places; something participants had never done before, even though everyone had visited Maradana and Pettah, quite often.

 

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Keynote Speaker : Dr. Daya Atapattu

Dr. Daya Attapattu is specialized in Parallel and High-Performance Computing. Currently he works as a Consultant at WSO2. Prior to that he was a Senior Research Scientist at Scientific Computing Associates and REvolution Computing. He completed his Ph.D from Indiana University Bloomington in 1991.

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3.00 – 3.15pm
Registration

3.15 – 3.45pm
[Student Presentation #1]
“Building Nodejs apps with Webmatrix”
Speaker:Mr. Milindu Sanoj Kumarage
1st Year Student
University of Colombo School of Computing .

3.45 – 4.30pm
[Industry Presentation #1]
” New Insights with Big Data”
Speaker:Mr. E. Alanzo Doll, Software IT Architect
IBM World Trade Corporation

4.30 – 5.15pm
[Industry Presentation #2]
“User Experience, What, Why and Where?”
Speaker:Mr.Hasanga Abeyaratne
User Experience Lead at 99X Technology

5.15 – 5.45pm
[Student Presentation #2]
“Perfomance Monitor : An era where we automate”
Speaker: Mr.Dushantha Ranwala,
Intern – Trainee Software Engineer at 99xTechnology
University of Colombo School of Computing .

Confirm your participation before 10th October by sending your,

Name -
E-mail -
Student ID -
University/Institute -
Contact No -

to mschamps@outlook.com

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SL2C Meetup

Sl2college, one of Sri Lanka’s premier volunteer-driven organization with the vision of  becoming “An information hub for Sri Lankan students seeking to pursue higher education”. SL2College helps Sri Lankan students with their higher education goals by providing free, accurate, in-depth and unbiased information about many aspects of higher education within Sri Lanka and overseas. Run by a global community of past and present Sri Lankan graduate students, faculty members and entrepreneurs residing in many countries, SL2College is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka.

The quarterly meet up of the organization happened on 22nd of October 2013 at WS02 premises Colombo-03. This meetup is a platform for its team members to meet each other and get to know more about the great work that is being done while showing different ways in which new volunteers can get involved. Indicating the success of having meetups, participation of new enthusiastic volunteers doubled when compared with the previous meetup. They all were willing to contribute their time and effort towards ongoing projects of SL2College.

speakers

The event was started by Nayana Samaranayake, the founding member of SL2College, introducing the organization and its achievements. Then Kethika Kulleperuma, representing marketing team, explained about the activities of the marketing team. She pointed that Social Media is ever evolving and is highly dynamic which provides many opportunities to any organization to bring their name upfront. Furthermore, she invited new volunteers to join marketing team.

Next, Tilan Wijesooriya representing SL2College editorial team, focused on the importance of reaching rural areas in Sri Lanka with their local media, namely Sinhala and Tamil. He further stated about regular articles presented by SL2College for Vidusara and Navaliya magazines.

Audience SL2C
Then, Rasitha Wijesekara and Charith Sooriyaarachchi introduced Volunteer and Team building activities of SL2College. SL2College organizes mentoring sessions for its team members in order to build their personal and professional skills, where high profiled and successful personnel will be mentoring the volunteers. In the past sessions, Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarna (CEO of WSO2), Mr. Rohan Jayaweera (Country Consultant at Google) and many industry professionals have shared their knowledge and ideas with SL2College members. Pasindu Perara and Thushan Ganegedara then spoke on SL2College web team and Asia student mentor network respectively.

Rashmika Nawaratne concluded the speeches explaining school seminar series conducted by Sl2College, in collaboration with Ministry of Education and US Embassy. Under the school seminar series SL2College has done a successful seminar at Richmond College, Galle and planning to conduct several school seminars in Gampaha and Jaffna in the coming months. Rashmika invited speakers to talk about higher education in both Sinhala and Tamil mediums.

SL2C Meetup Audenice
The speeches were to get newcomers up to speed on knowledge about SL2College and the current events happening. Then an interesting quiz session was conducted by Rasitha, which most the participants got thrilled and won chocolates.

The meetup concluded with refreshments and a networking session where the new volunteers met the SL2College core team members and showed their interested on various projects conducted by SL2College.

If you are interested in volunteering with us send your CV to info@sl2college.org

Website: http://www.sl2college.org/

For further updates on SL2College: https://www.facebook.com/sl2college

Article by: Mohammed Aasir

SL2C Members