Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: When introductions are about 140 characters long and everyone identifies themselves by curious names like @Balajil and @Thomas, it suspiciously resembles an underground movement. But in reality it is a gathering of social media enthusiasts and in Twitter parlance, it would be called a ‘Twestival'.

One such event was organised here on Thursday as Chennai joined 175 other cities across the world.

What started in London as a small fundraiser for a local charity in 2008 has assumed global proportions and cities have started using Twestials as a platform to leverage the power of social media to raise funds for social causes.

“It is a platform to meet new, exciting people,” said L. Balaji, an IIT-Madras student and one of the participants. Pointing out that Twitter can be used as a tool to bring together people from diverse backgrounds, Kiruba Shankar, co-founder of Knowledge Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, said “Twitter can be used as a tool for ego massaging by talking about yourself or it you can be used to reach out to the world.”