x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Tweeters get social for charity

Hundreds of computers will lie dormant tonight, abandoned by their owners in favour of a night out for charity.

DUBAI // Hundreds of computers will lie dormant tonight, abandoned by their owners in favour of a night out for charity. The event, being held at the InterContinental hotel in Festival City, will bring together users of the social media service Twitter to raise money for building schools and hiring teachers in developing countries. It is Dubai's third Twitter festival, and is being held concurrently in more than 175 countries.

"It will help to build a special community and create stronger relationships between the people in it," said Baher al Hakim, one of the event's organisers. The previous Dubai Twestival Global, held in February last year, attracted 300 people and US$20,000 (Dh73,000) in donations to Charity: Water, which used the money to dig wells in Uganda, Ethiopia and India, providing villages with reliable water supplies.

This time, the money will go to Concern, a 40-year-old US-based charity that provides education to children in the developing world. The event is being held in hundreds of cities and all the organisers are volunteers. "The slogan is Tweet, Meet, Greet," said Prashant Gulati, an entrepreneur and another organiser of tonight's Twestival. "The festival goes against the idea that Twitter is virtual. The Twitter festivals are brilliant for Twitter's users as you get to meet the people you talk to online.

Twitter allows short messages to be broadcast over the internet. According to du, the UAE telecoms operator sponsoring tonight's event, the country has more than 15,000 Twitter users out of about 40,000 users in the Middle East and North Africa. newsdesk@thenational.ae