Let’s face it, developing a website is normally done over months behind closed doors, and most people would probably rank its entertainment value right next to “watching paint dry”. But some impassioned volunteers, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, RSS feeds and especially Twitter turned that around recently.
In August 2007 something special happened for two community groups: in an event akin to a ‘Geek Olympics’ two teams of web professionals competed to show off their skills in developing a free website — in 24 hours!
The event was called Full Code Press. It took place in Australia where one team from New Zealand (The Code Blacks) and one team from Australia took up the challenge. Read all about it at Full Code Press.
Non-profit organisations in both New Zealand and Australia applied to win a free website. The organisations had about 4 weeks to prepare after being selected. The web teams discovered who their clients were only minutes before they began work.
By the end of 24 hours each community organisation had a full, working website that met their needs and into which they had full input. Although developing a website (which normally takes months, not hours) is hardly a spectator sport, still the event brought an audience along with it.
At first glance Twitter looks like a totally trivial waste of time, but it has an interesting value. In the [slightly edited] words of the Full Code Press news release:
In the 24 hours of the event, dedicated volunteers took hundreds of photos — over 330 of which were quickly edited and pumped onto Flickr.
These volunteers also wrote and posted 122 blog posts, allowing us to give minute by minute descriptions of the unfolding events.
The volunteers also videoed, edited, top and tailed (adding intros and sponsor logos) and then uploaded 17 amazing videos to YouTube — while the event unfolded.
There were 175 official twitter posts (not counting the mass of twitter posts that were done by people from their own twitter accounts). Twitter turned out to be the hook that drew many people in to the event. The speed and frequency of posts as well as the immediacy and quickness of the comments allowed those away from the event to get a feeling for what was going on — in real time.
Have you investigated Twitter yet?
Written for and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, September 2007. This article may have been modified from the original.