Twitter Gets People Talking Across Borders with 40 Worldwide #Tweetups

Social network hosting video chats powered by Shared_Studios

twitter shared studios video chat shipping container
Shipping containers will serve as video chat rooms for the activation. Twitter
Headshot of Marty Swant

Twitter drives conversation across the globe every day, but now it’s making the experience more personal with real-world #Tweetups, connecting people via video chat in dozens of places as varied as a refugee camp in Greece and New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

In its largest experiential marketing event so far, the company is inviting people into shipping containers to have a conversation with someone far away living a far different life from their own.

#Tweetups have long been a way for Twitter users who met online to meet in person. With the new activation, Twitter is taking the concept global and hoping to drive new conversations (and maybe remind people it has video content of its own).

The activation, which runs from July 25 through Aug. 4, is part of a partnership with Shared_Studios, an organization on a mission to connect people through video. Each location will have translators on hand to help with language barriers and will also pair people up based on time zones. The 40 locations include Berlin; Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos, Nigeria; Chicago; Stockholm, Sweden; Paris; Tokyo; and New York. Twitter is also creating a pop-up in Lesbos, Greece, the focal point of the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis.

According to Nola Weinstein, Twitter’s global head of culture, engagement and experiential marketing, the goal is to connect Twitter users and nonusers and anyone who is “curious” or “eager to converse and connect.”

“I think here’s something extraordinarily powerful about stepping into a space and feeling as though you’re teleporting into another time and place,” Weinstein said, “and entering into another person’s experience that you only usually interact with through headlines and hashtags.”

There will also be celebrity appearances and special events like a lunch connecting Detroit and Sao Paulo and a K-pop concert in South Korea.

“I think this was really driven by us thinking about how to bring our brand to life,” Weinstein said. “And what better way to bring a conversation to life than pairing [people] around the globe?”

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.