How Twitter helped Toronto IT execs generate $10,000 in five days

I’m a latecomer to Twitter, but I’d only been on it for a few days when I started hearing about an event that was born in part through use of the service.

On Dec. 15 Toronto’s Mod Club will be the location for an event called #hohoto, which was put together by a handful of local technology industry execs. One of them is Michael O’Connor Clarke, who I’ve known since his tenure with PC Docs and who now helps run the Thornley Fallis PR agency.

According to O’Connnor Clarke, #hohoto started out with a conversation about a similar event taking place in Montreal, when technology lawyer Rob Hyndman suggested Toronto stage a geek party of its own.

“It just exploded,” he says. “We starting building it through all the tools – we exchanged messages on Twitter, we set up a Google Group, there was a sort of round robin list via e-mail, and we had a guy with some WordPress development background set up a Web site. There were a lot of ‘Let’s do the show right here!’ kind of moments.”

It might seem only natural that IT users tap into social networking tools for a project like this, but consider the end result. The group also reached out to its online network to sell admission tickets that would raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank. Within five days, #hohoto had already sold 70 per cent of its capacity and with some help from sponsors like Microsoft and Canon, $10,000 has been raised so far.

“At the time things starting to take shape, we saw a news release from the Ontario Associations of Food Banks about increase of 13 per cent of those in need,” O’Connor Clarke says.

Tickets cost only $10 but the #hohoto team plan to increase the costs every day leading up to the event, to provide some extra incentive for potential attendees. This will be an informal evening – there will be some DJs, some food and maybe some special messages via video from tech industry luminaries – but it’s mostly a celebration of local success stories.

Will it be an annual event? Maybe.

“I don’t know if we could achieve the rush of excitement and enthusiasm and the dollar amounts we’ve achieved in the last four or five days,” O’Connor Clarke admits. Maybe not, but even if those experimenting with social networking in the enterprise were half as successful, the excitement would last for months afterwards. Well done, #hohoto team. And Merry Christmas.

Related Download
CanadianCIO Census 2016 Mapping Out the Innovation Agenda Sponsor: Cogeco Peer 1
CanadianCIO Census 2016 Mapping Out the Innovation Agenda
The CanadianCIO 2016 census will help you answer those questions and more. Based on detailed survey results from more than 100 senior technology leaders, the new report offers insights on issues ranging from stature and spend to challenges and the opportunities ahead.
Register Now