Why Twestival matters to Toronto’s tech community

Twestival Toronto was a party.  Make no mistake about that.  However, it is also a fundraising event.  More than $20,000 was raised during last week’s social media bash of the season.  But is there more to it?  I wanted to know if Twestival is important to Toronto’s tech community. 

So I put out the question on Twitter:  Why is Twestival Toronto important to the Toronto tech community?  Here are some of the answers I got back: 

It is an opportunity to come together as a community, see friends and do something for others. The charities that have benefited from the last three Twestivals have been great organizations and the fact that $20,000 was raised last night is an amazing tribute to the hard work and passion of the Twestival organizers as well as the Toronto online community. –  Saul Colt

Twestival is one of those critical events that brings us together as a community. Most of us know each other from our avatars on Twitter or Facebook but Twestivals‘ noble cause gets us out from behind our screens and helps us make real, human face-to-face connections and friends with our virtual neighbours. Helen Overland 

I say that Twestival is important because of the people.  I have met so many people I am really excited about, and who I consider friends, who I would have never met were it not for Twitter and events like Twestival.  Further, you can’t replace face-to-face interaction.  Those relationships are so much more legitimate and valuable because of the IRL time we’ve spent together. – Sean Ward

It creates more of a sense of community amongst tech.  Seeing people in person is still the best way to communicate.  Consistently seeing someone builds a relationship even more. – Jas Banwait 

It brings together young entrepreneurs and start ups all in one room planting the seed for new ventures, and secondly, it makes us unplug.  Human interaction is still important and I like that people can’t hide behind your profile pic. – Joel Reilly

Events like Twestival Toronto are important for someone like me who recruits talent in the local tech community because they bring the human factor to recruitment.  They are an opportunity for me to actually meet and build relationships with people who are good at what they do and love working for start ups.  This is also great for early-stage companies who can’t afford a headhunter just yet because they are able to do grassroots recruiting that beats a job board any day. – Heather Holmes 

I believe Twestival is a great case study that legitimizes the use of social media as a call to action. I’ve heard many people say that the people who use social media to do social good are slacktivists – those that tweet to others encouraging them to donate time/money to a good cause, but don’t go out of their own way to do something offline to help the same cause. In essence, big talkers with no follow-through. But Twestival is changing that idea. Look at all it’s accomplished by using social media: we’ve brought together hundreds of people within the Greater Toronto Area under one roof and raised thousands of dollars for charity…and it all started with a tweet.

I also believe that there’s a growing misconception about the users of social media. To take a comment from a recent Global News piece that covered Twestival, that we all hide behind our monitors so to speak. I’m not going to speak for the entire online community but I’ve met a lot of people at these events and I don’t feel like they’re hiding behind their monitors in any sense. Heck, if they did they wouldn’t be going to these events would they? We’re merely using social media as another tool in our toolbox to connect and meet new people.
Aleksandra Stalmach

What are your thoughts on Twestival?  Do you participate?  Is it important to you? 

Do you think it is important to the tech community?