A comment I heard a lot from other people was that the event wasn’t quite what they expected. It certainly wasn’t a total geekfest as some may have expected. BBC Scotland’s tweeter noted the friendly atmosphere in an article about EdTwestival on the BBC News website. It felt a bit like a gig really — just one where people were staring into their iPhones a lot.
The venue was a bit odd. It was somewhat posher than I was expecting, and I was rather peeved that only expensive beers appeared to be available. I can tell you it was the first time I’ve ever paid £4 for a pint. I know Edinburgh is supposed to be expensive, but phweesh! I’ll have to stay on 99p Deuchars at Wetherspoons for a while to balance things out a bit.
The main action was happening in a room which appeared to be the outside on the inside. Or something. I only realised we were “outside” when I saw people smoking. There is an experience I’ve not had since 2006. The strange environment also prompted many to note how cold it was. A toasty atmosphere, but a cool temperature.
Meanwhile, I had trouble finding my way around. I was rather desperate for the toilet. I hadn’t been since I left my house at around half past three, having spent the couple of hours since I arrived at Edinburgh in deep discussion with a new acquaintance in a coffee house. I was becoming rather anxious to dispense with it.
So I started to wander around looking for the toilets. But they were nowhere to be seen. I consulted the floor plan, where I immediately found toilets on the second floor. So to the second floor I went, but when I arrived there I couldn’t see any signs to show me where to look after number 1. So I did what any sane person would do: stumble around until finding something that vaguely looked like a toilet.
I thought I had struck gold when I came across a door that had “GENTLEMEN” written on it (although it’s usually better not to dabble in the gold stuff in the toilet). Sadly, life is not so simple. As I reached for the door a person asked me where I was going. “Toilet,” I grunted rather impolitely, as I was rapidly running out of time. I was then asked something about an interview. I can’t remember exactly what my response was. Probably something like, “I don’t know, just let me take a piss.”
Suspicions grew further when there was no lock on the door. And there was a shower in the room. Had I begun to lay a yellow cable in someone’s en suite bathroom?
Possibly. I don’t know. While my Austin Powers-style jet was in full flow, I gradually realised what had happened. The room was being used by one of the sponsors (I forget which) of the Twestival for filming interviews. When I say “the room”, obviously I don’t mean the toilet itself. The room containing the toilet. That would have been really weird, though things were awkward enough as they were.
So when I came out I apologised profusely and to be fair the least I could do was go through the interview. Thankfully it wasn’t too bad, although I am now cringing at some of the answers I gave.
So that is a warning to you. If you see me on some website somewhere looking a bit flustered and awkwardly answering questions about my Twitter habits, it was my post-tinkle chit chat. Someone please warn me if it turns up somewhere.
That mishap aside, though, I had a great time at the Edinburgh Twestival. I met some cool people. It’s quite unusual to be recognised by the Twitter username on my name badge rather than something more traditional such as my face. I had a great chat with @Sarabian who recognised the name doctorvee not from Twitter but from this blog — specifically my posts about Woolworths.
There was also much fundraising fun to be had. Sadly, the raffle threatened to descend into farce when all of the tickets drawn were orange 3XX — whoops!
There was an auction where some of the items went for some rather low amounts, especially given it was for charity. Obviously everyone was saving up for the British Grand Prix tickets, which went for £300! Well out of my price range unfortunately. I sent a tongue-in-cheek tweet about it.
One of the coolest things about the EdTwestival was a projection which displayed all tweets mentioning #EdTwestival. Otherwise, I was locked out of the Twitter world. My phone is a bit of a relic so it was SMS only for me. But I saw my brother’s reply to my tweet about the British GP auction on the projector! That was a nice moment.
There was some good music from Peter Gregson, Plum and Epic26 — all new acts to me, and fun to discover. Unfortunately, the power went down while Epic26 were playing, and by that time I had to run for my train.
Overall, Edinburgh Twestival raised over £3,500 for charity: water. Not bad at all! And well above what the tweegies in the west raised. Which is what counts. Right?
I’d love for there to be another Edinburgh Twestival soon. It was a great evening. Hopefully by the next time I will have improved my mingling skills. And I won’t take a slash in the wrong toilet.
- EdTwestival Twitter account
- Photos from Edinburgh Twestival over at Flickr
- Visualisation of the meetings at Edinburgh Twestival
- Edinburgh Twestival on Twisualise