TweetUpSL 2 photos by Hasitha Karunaratne
The last Twitter meetup was held in a coffeeshop with about 100 people (I think). This one was at least 400 and it was held in a big hall (Dialog Future Center). Next year they may have to find someplace bigger still. Internet use in Sri Lanka has rapidly gone young and gone wide – it’s truly not expat types by myself, it’s ordinary extra-ordinary people.
I follow, fight with and am followed by a lot of people in Sri Lanka. I remember when I could count the number of updated Sri Lankan blogs on two hands, now they’ve exploded into the thousands. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Plus, Sri Lankans are all over it. For one thing, we actually have amazing Internet infrastructure. Slow as shit, granted, but I’ve been everywhere from Jaffna to Matara and you can almost always get some, squeaky Internet. The boom in mobile broadband has made Internet accessible to a lot of young Sri Lankans, though everybody I know struggles to pay their bill. But they can connect.
Second, we have really smart kids. Or people if you will. There are a lot of people who speak great English, and a lot more people who speak good enough English to write great stuff in Sinhala or Tamil online. There are a lot of software developers, hackers, artists, photographs, and all around curious people who are what make online communities great.
So, those were the types that you saw at TweetUpSL. Admittedly, people didn’t take too well to a centralized present/awards agenda, but there has to be something. What’s hilarious is that people were constantly talking amongst themselves, hooting at the stage, writing things that were posted on the wall and even tweeting while up front. I brought the kid and he was running around like a monkey and picking on old people, but in that environment it was all good. It was a lot like being inside Twitter, except a lot hotter.
So, yeah, good TweetUp.
Great photos by Hasitha Karunaratne