On Thursday evening I headed down to Shoreditch for the London Twestival – my local-ish gathering of an international festival organised in aid of charity:water. I’d booked a ticket on a whim, and hadn’t been able to talk anyone I knew into coming, so I figured I’d turn up and see what happened.
The directions on the website lead to a dead end, but thankfully a group of similarly confused people were hovering nearby, so I joined them. We eventually found our way to the queue, and stood in the driving snow for twenty minutes before finally getting inside. Genius here wasn’t wearing a proper coat, and had no umbrella, so was rather soaked by this point. Thankfully it was pretty warm inside, and it didn’t take long to dry off.
I grabbed a name badge and wandered into the main area. There were two large rooms, both rammed full and only navigable by pushing. Unfortunately my group had left / disappeared by now, so I was on my own and not entirely sure what to do. So I put on my wandering photographer hat and moved back and forth for a while, just trying to get a sense of what was going on.
It was less geeky than you’d think. There were lots of iPhones, but much more alcohol. One of the rooms had a bar and live music. I glanced at plenty of name badges, and recognised Rory Cellan-Jones (BBC tech correspondent), the excellent @atheistbus, who I had a quick chat with, and @qwghlm, whose twitter stream I don’t follow, but whose blog I do – I wasn’t sure it was the same guy, though, so didn’t say anything. I only mention this because it turns out I had a meal with him and seven others on Saturday evening, but didn’t realise it until today. Just one of those slightly odd coincidences. Anyway.
A few years ago I’d have found it pretty intimidating on my own, but I was actually fine, if a little bored. I thought about wandering up to friendly-looking groups and introducing myself, but that seemed a bit weird – do people do that? The music wasn’t really my thing, and I stayed for just under an hour before ducking out.
As far as I could tell the event was a success – everyone I saw seemed to be having a good time. It was interesting to be there, but I’ll have to get better at twitter networking before next time, I think.