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Twitter festival comes to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:59 06 July 2010

Organiser John Puddifoot, right, with Russ Dacre at Open, which will host the twitter festival

Organiser John Puddifoot, right, with Russ Dacre at Open, which will host the twitter festival

Twitter is a global phenomenon made popular by famous "tweeters" like Stephen Fry, whose bite-sized messages on the Twitter website throughout the day read like an irreverent online diary.

Twitter is a global phenomenon made popular by famous “tweeters” like Stephen Fry, whose bite-sized messages on the Twitter website throughout the day read like an irreverent online diary.

And now the first charity Twitter festival - or Twestival - in Norwich is being held on Friday to give Twitter users the chance to meet up and see the person behind the short online updates.

The charity event at Open on Bank Plain, the former Barclays bank, will have entertainment and music in the evening and a debate on the business merits of Twitter and online networking in the afternoon.

It will be part of a global network of hundreds of Twestivals on the same day and the entrance fee will go to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

It has been organised by Twitter fan John Puddifoot, managing director of Blue Hat Technologies, a web development company based in Norwich.

Mr Puddifoot, 30, has been putting messages on Twitter - called tweets - since early 2007 and hopes the festival will bring both tweeters and non-tweeters together for a good cause.

“I think Twitter is a great business tool to keep up to date with new developments, trends and ideas and also a fun way to let friends and family know how you are,” said Mr Puddifoot, from Norwich.

“Some Norfolk tweeters read each others updates without ever meeting; we hope everyone comes along to meet new people face-to-face, have fun and raise some money for the air ambulance.”

Comedian Stephen Fry was one of the first celebrity tweeters and currently has more than 740,000 followers - the number of people linked up to read his messages. Other avid tweeters include Jonathan Ross, Philip Schofield, Andy Murray and Demi Moore.

Mr Puddifoot said that Canaries fan Mr Fry had introduced a lot of people to Twitter and had been invited to the festival.

But in a recent update, Mr Fry tweeted: “Very kind, but sadly I can't be in Norfolk on the 11th. Commitments in London :(.”

Tickets to the event can be bought from the UEA bookings website for £4 or £5 on the door. The tickets will also be put in a draw, with prizes including a helicopter ride for four people, and Mr Puddifoot is also asking for businesses to sponsor the event or donate prizes for the draw.

Local business experts will form the debate panel in the afternoon and bands playing in the evening include The Interpreters and Niamh Cavlan, with more to be added.

“We are hoping to get a real insight into the opportunities and risks for businesses using social media like Twitter, and we have a good mix of bands for the evening,” added Mr Puddifoot.

Twitter was launched in 2006 as a microblogging service - a quick alternative to blog posts, with messages limited to 140 characters - and is now used by millions of people worldwide.

Tickets available at www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk or on the door. The business debate is from 1.30pm, bands from 6pm to 10.30pm on Friday. For more information or to be a sponsor call Mr Puddifoot on 01603 305955 or go to norwich.twestival.com.

Follow the EDP at twitter.com/edp24.

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