Once again, it's impossible to feel anything other that gratitude and humbleness in the face of the sheer amount of effort, determination and self-sacrifice that goes in to making a "happening" on this scale. Kudos to Amanda, Ben and everyone else who worked so hard.
As always - it's the people you meet which make the evening. It's bizarre trying to recognise someone from a 48*48 pixel avatar - this often means spending a large portion of the time staring at random strangers' chests trying to read a name-badge.
There's a myth that in some languages the word "stranger" translates into "Friend I've Not Yet Met" - so it is with twitter. I was surrounded with people who I felt I knew intimately, yet I'd never so much as shaken their hand before tonight.
The net result of all this was that everyone was so friendly. Any other venue in London, if you accidentally spilled someone's drink you'd get stabbed. Here, you were more likely to get a hug.
Which was nice.
I'm obviously a grumpy old man - but here's my run down of what people could do to improve the next London Twestival.
- I appreciate that there's a paucity of cheap / free venues in London on a Thursday night. But if you're going to pick one a mile away from the tube, in some grim back street, it might be an idea to put up a few signs directing people - or even a few volunteers.
- The queuing system sucked. I don't know what the hold up was at the front, but it took us around 45 minutes to get in. That certainly put a dampener on my evening.
- You can't control the weather - but you can plan for it. If you can see that there's a long queue of people standing about in the snow - go out and explain to them what's going on. People are happier when they know why there's a delay and what's being done about it.
- If there's a long queue of bored and hungry people, bring out some food or (non-alcoholic) drink. I saw lots of organisers wandering past the queue with crates of food. They didn't even throw so much as a bag of Doritos our way.
- Twitter is a meritocracy. If you're the organiser and you spot one of your mates - or a BBC journalist - in the queue, don't let them jump the queue! It's the sort of thing which builds resentment.
- Actually check the tickets. By the time I arrived at the front, the notion of a ticketing system had all but been abandoned. There were funky 2D Barcodes on there which should have speeded up the check-in process.
- Either pre-print name-badges in big letters, or make sure you have enough thick black markers on the front desk. Loads of people had been reduced to writing their badges in biro. This made it really hard to read who someone was.
- Have more than 2 people on the coat check. I'm here to part and meet people, not join another queue just to hand over a coat (see point 12)
- Keep food, drink and raffles in a fixed location. I saw lots of people chasing after the last reported sighting of the raffle tickets and the burgers. If people can't find you, they can't give you their money.
- The food. What a farce. Despite being given a ticket for food, I couldn't find anywhere to spend it - nor could anyone else. There was a chap wandering around giving burgers away - but he didn't know where the rest of the food was, or if there was anything vegetarian available. I subsided on a few dropped Liquorish Allsorts. Rubbish.
- The raffle. Grrr. Possibly the most annoying thing about the night.
- Hard to find raffle tickets
- No validation on the tickets (I saw people dropping both halves of their ticket in and only keeping one stub from the several they purchased.)
- Filling in the tickets took an age. Not sure how this could be improved - certainly give the raffle sellers more pens so that multiple people can fill in tickets at the same time.
- Timing was bad. The website said you had to stick around to claim your prize. A bit unfair given that our names and phone numbers were on there.
- Lousy rules - the website said you had to stick around until "halfway" through the evening" for the draw. I'm obviously an old man because I don't consider after 2300 to be halfway through the evening. We don't all work in PR - taking Friday as a hangover day isn't always an option.
- To make matters worst, the first few prizes were announced - then the raffle was seemingly abandoned! I got bored at this point and left.
- I should point out that I'm probably just bitter that I didn't win the Lego Death Star...
It would appear that I am genetically unable to be photographed in a flattering light.
Photo by Webwandering.
Photo by Annie Mole.
Amazing to see nearly everyone in that video using the fantastic Dabr for tweeting from their phones..
I hope I haven't upset anyone with this post. I am genuinely in awe of the organisers for getting a global event of the ground and raising a whole heap for charity. I just wish that a bit more logistical effort had gone in to the London Twestival.