Twitter's Night Out

What do you get when you take tons of free booze, throw in a few celebrities and keep the shops open late? That was, in a nutshell, the agenda at the Vogue Fashion's Night Out in Manchester, which descended upon the city last night for the first time in its 4-year history, having previously been held exclusively in London. So, what did happen, I hear you ask? Well, among lots of other things, Twitter went crazy.

The #FNO hashtag could be seen on almost every other post, even from people who weren't there ("While everyone else is at #FNO, I'm at home eating chocolate buttons in the bath" one user informs us.  Good, thanks, I'm glad we cleared that up.).  Never ones to miss an opportunity that allows us to flex our social media muscles, we started playing around yesterday morning with a natty little tweet-collecting website that our developer Oliver knocked up.  Any tweet featuring the #FNO hashtag would be collected by the site and appear in what is essentially a stripped-down live-stream. This happened at about 10am, and was originally intended as a tool for me (Thea) to use while at the event, to keep track of what was going on.  By early afternoon, it looked as though a sizable proportion of others also thought it might come in handy, as we notched up over 800 unique views in a matter of hours. Much smug, congratulatory high-fiving ensued (not really. We're not that annoying.) 

Throughout the evening, the feed kept me informed of the most important aspects of #FNO, such as the location of the free booze, the fact that The Maccabees were hanging about in Armani before their DJ set and even a sighting of the Beckhams. I'm not sure how factual the last one was; despite my best efforts, I went home devoid of a Beckham glimpse.  Of course, there was also a plethora of opinions and general ramblings appearing on the feed and a big helping of selfies from shoppers who'd managed to bag a photo with a celeb.  Seeing it all in one place really was quite remarkable - Twitter has long been used to bridge the gap between the world of the rich and famous and the rest of us, but this was a reciprocal interaction between the two that isn't often seen. 

That led me onto wondering if the success of this event was in the most part down to social media.  It's fair to say that despite posters being up around the city, there wasn't really much tangible information about it outside of the world wide web.  Certainly if I didn't follow the accounts of key publications and people in the world of fashion and modern culture, I'd have known a lot less about it. Then there's the fact that bloggers aplenty swarmed to #FNO like flies around…well, you know.  Mysterious, untouchable online personas suddenly had a real face and body and were walking around amongst the rest of us.  And of course, we wouldn't even hold these people in such high regard were it not for the Internet. Hell, would anyone even have turned up last night were it not for the Internet? One has to wonder. 

Vogue has not only done a fantastic job of breaking down the barriers between what happens in London and what happens everywhere else, but they've also demonstrated the power of digital marketing incredibly well.  As for our newfound live-streaming capabilities? We're already waiting for the next event. Watch this space. 

View the stream at http://fno.themadhacker.co.uk