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Last night was my first tweet up, which just so happened to be the Twestival. This year we “joined forces” with Jordan and had a joint Twestival here in Beirut. All the donation go to “Concern” which is an organization that is trying to make education a reality for all. I was really nervous going to the Twestival, as I didnt know what to expect. I got a ride with my fellow geek from class Karim Bekdache.

We got to the dome where the event was being held and at the door we had to sign our Twitter username and password. The minute I set foot inside, all I could hear was twitter jargon. I put a face on sdarine and then started to look for anyone who could be krikOrianM. Ayman Itani, my supercool professor, steps up to the  mic to settle the crowd down and get started. Normally at a conference event people would be asked to turn their phones off. Not in this case, Ayman stepped in front of the mic and announced “Ladies and Gentelmen for the sake of a smooth running conference, I am going to have to ask you all… to log on to twitter, and commence!” Then everybody pulled out their iphone/blackberry and the whole room went silent except for the soft pitter-patter of fingers on the small keyboards and camera phones going off. Haha! Just kidding! But wouldn’t that have been cool? Sadly, my trusty and reliable iPhone is “at the shirkeh” again getting fixed so I had no way to tweet live from the event. Not that I was worried or anything since @aymanitani and @sdkaaa were kind enough to take my picture and instantly tweet it from their iphone/blackberry!Even though I knew they could do that before, and I might have even done it myself once, it is just invigorating when somebody walks up to you takes your picture and then everyone knows that you have just met! So I looked like a technologically challenged little girl who came from a cave with my pen and paper but I was too excited about the live tweeting to care! The Twestival was amazing, everybody donated 10$ and bought T-shirts and mugs, we all got free hats and about 400 free sms’s from telephone.com, the company that my ubercool professor works for. Maya Zankoul, Lara Zankoul, Meen the Band (Tony Yammine), and Telephone.com donated a bunch of great give aways for the raffle at the end! I won Maya Zankoul’s book, on purpose! They aslo gave away a few tickets to the ArabNetMe conference that is taking place as I type.

Fadi Ghandour! Founder and ceo aramex. Entrepreneurship, activism, social change, basketball, swimming and so much more (twitter bio). This man was amazing. He took the mic made us all laugh and then announced that Aramex was donating FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to the cause, and then walked away. Shortly after, he walks back to the mic and announces that he will match the $5K from his own pocket! Inspiration much? Sadly I only managed to snap a picture of him and did not have the video cam ready to get his short surprise announcements. But that’s the beauty of the Twesitval, because I am sure someone else did get it on video!

After that, the beautiful, intelligent, inspiring, Queen Rania, had recorded a special message especially for this Twestival, luckily I managed to catch that but found a better version of it on YouTube:

Darine, Ayman, and Kamel (I think, from Nakhweh.com) then proceeded to fill us in about statistics, the maniachis, Themethursday and followfriday.

Darine Sabbagh, Passionate marketer & traveler, dabbling in professional  translation, copywriting & amateur photography. Firm believer in SEO, wishful thinking & chocolate (twitter bio), gave a lovely speech about recruiting tweeps. She said “help is one tweet away”. The one thing I can say I learned or gained from attending this festival is really how close the online community is, and how helpful they are. Everybody is genuinely interested in what the other had to say and moreover, everybody is always ready and waiting to give an extra hand or a piece of advice or a helpful hint. @Sam_lb even helped me solve an iphone problem I was having and apparently the maniachis, even though they can be online bullies, are always ready to help you with any question you have about technology. What I found to be most inspiring was the barter system. I need help with anything, I can barter with something I’m good at. Not only is it a great way to make friends but it’s also a great way to get involved in the community and to get yourself heard!

So if you are not on twitter, get on twitter and you will see just how welcoming the community is.

I will leave you with another quote from the ever so adorable, @sdarine:

“Whatever you may need, you will get it if you tweet.”