Dubai Twestival to mark the spirit of Ramadan

Prompted by the announcement of Abu Dhabi Twestival, the Dubai chapter promises a bigger and better event than the one held earlier.

The online registration for the event opened yesterday and in the first two hours it had logged in more than 100 volunteers and participants, according to one of the volunteer members of the organising committee.

The Dubai chapter of Twestival Global, which took place in February this year, was “one of the most successful events internationally and was in fact in the top five cities globally in collecting charity”, said Prashant K Gulati, one of the volunteer organisers who has been involved in tweeting activities in the region since the very beginning.

Announcing details of the Dubai Twestival Local, he said it will take place on September 12 and participants will converge on The Jam Jar gallery in Al Quoz to meet other members of the Twitter community.

Dubai Twestival Local (@dubaitwestival on Twitter) aims to raise money and awareness for Dubai Autism Center, a non-profit organisation founded in November 2001 to help integrate children with autism into the community and raise social awareness of the condition.

Dubai Twestival organisers are counting on their high-profile list of sponsors to raise funds for the centre.

“We have a Golden Ticket from RTA to auction and until now the bid has already crossed Dh1,000,” said Gulati. Other sponsors are Nokia (@nokconv), (powered by Aramex, @shopnship) and (@naheldotcom).

“We’re delighted to have been able to organise Dubai Twestival Local during the holy month of Ramadan, since giving is at the heart of the Twestival concept and is the reason that the event has received such fantastic support from volunteers and sponsors,” said Gulati.

“We’re proud to support Dubai Autism Center as awareness of autism and understanding those who suffer from the condition and their families is still very low worldwide. We hope that Twestival will make a worthwhile contribution to autism awareness in the UAE. I have been tweeting since 2007, since the very inception of Twitter. It’s not only a means of communicating and staying in touch with other people, but creates international communities.”

The UAE’s Twitter community has grown rapidly since the service was unblocked by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority last year and currently an estimated 6,000 people use the service in the country, up from just 500 users at the time of the first Dubai Twestival in February. Global usage of Twitter grew by 1,460 per cent over the past year and the micro-blogging platform now boasts 44.5 million users (according to Comscore, June 2009).

“Events such as the Twestival cement the bonding among the tweeting community and bring them together on a productive platform,” said Gulati. “We hope that Twestival Local will build on the great success of February’s Twestival Global event that helped both raise awareness of Twitter in the UAE and for charity: water.”

Based around the social media service Twitter, Twestival links the UAE with an international community using one of the fastest growing innovations in new media. Twitter is the online service that allows people to share short messages under 140 characters.

Twestivals are being organised around the Middle East in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Doha and Beirut.

This article originally appeared on Emirates 24/7.