Monday, 18 August 2008

Interview With Tweet Tweet

I chased up Kevin O'Neill, one of the founders of Twitter powered club night Tweet Tweet, with some questions. Here's what he had to say

How long have you been on Twitter?

Since October last year, but the other Tweet in Tweet Tweet, Alex, has been on there since it's inception pretty much.

Explain the concept of Tweet Tweet in no more than 20 words.

Live requesting, live archiving, the potential for a fully documented club experience.

What gave you the idea to start Tweet Tweet?

Me and Alex had wanted to put on a night for a while, and while we knew what music we'd play (heavily focused on making people dance), we didn't have an identity for the club. We were playing around with some ideas for names, and were having conversations across Twitter about our plans one day. Because we were communicating with tweets, the name Tweet Tweet suddenly emerged, and it started opening up possibilities like making requests via Twitter, and archiving the playlists. Twitter basically gave us the framework, and it's been fun to play around with it, and see how people might engage with it. One of our geekiest ideas was to give every night (we want to run monthly) a subtitle that was 140 characters exactly, i.e. a twoosh. We moderated that impulse!

What technology will you be using to tweet the playlist on the night?

If I get my Twitter SMS service fixed in time, simply my mobile phone! If not, we'll be using Alex's iPhone.

How will users be able to Tweet requests on the night? Are you confident that the venue you use will enable a network signal to clubbers?

Twitter killing the UK SMS updates has been a bit frustrating, as I won't be able to receive requests on my phone now. If club-goers Twitter @tweettweetclub on the night, we'll get the request from Alex's iPhone, but having the dedicated SMSs coming straight to my phone was a nice idea. People can make requests before the night too, but obviously it'd be more fun if we got it going on the night. In terms of reception, the venue is called The Bunker, a bit worryingly, but I've had phone reception in there before, so we should be fine. We've not planned it amazingly well, to be honest, but it should all work out!

Would you be prepared to surrender the entire playlist to your audience?

This is our intention, yes! Partly because we're addicted to documentation, but also it makes an excellent way for people to gauge what our music is like. So many club night flyers (ours included!) have endless lists of bands and you can never be sure until you get to the night what the music will be like, how the DJs create the texture of the night by the combinations they put together, if you're always going to have a half-hour dubstep or Northern Soul sequence, that kind of thing. With the Tweet Tweet Twitter feed, people can check out what we *actually* play, and that kind of complete upfront honesty seems really neat.

Where do you see Tweet Tweet one year from now?

Ha, if we're still running a year from now hopefully I'll have got a free iPhone out of it somehow!

At present Twitter is yet to break out from the tech community and reach a wider audience. How do you plan on engaging with music fans who are not on Twitter or unaware of what it is?

Maybe Tweet Tweet will break down these walls! The feedback we've got so far has mostly been about our music policy, and the bands we want to play. A handful of people have got interested because of the Twitter theme, and that's been awesome, satisfies our inner geeks. Everyone else either hasn't heard of Twitter, or doesn't understand why Facebook status updates aren't enough for us. We've no idea how the club will go, but Twitter is a great service and we want to play with it, test what it can do, what it's possible to use it for. It's exciting, isn't it?!

What do you think about Twitter stopping UK SMS updates?

It's a bit sad, as I mentioned earlier! It means anyone wanting to check how the club is going on the night has to be using web-based services on their phone. There was a beautiful simplicity about the SMS service, but maybe it'll come back in a different form for a future Tweet Tweet. I completely understand why Twitter have had to pull the service, and hope they find a way to get their revenue sorted. Maybe satellite Tweet Tweet clubs worldwide could contribute to a Twitter Emergency Fund!

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