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Twitter crash course set tonight in Fargo

FARGO - If you've fallen behind in social networking trends, you can get a crash course in Twitter tonight.

Ristreto Coffee & Tea is one of 175 locations worldwide hosting a Twestival. The fundraiser will send all the proceeds to "charity: water," a nonprofit that works to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

That may be the official cause for the event, but the real reason to attend is a chance for networking enthusiasts to meet the people behind the posts. ... Or make that the "tweople" behind the "tweets."

Twitter fanatics, or "twitaddicts" have developed a whole lexicon based on the service.

Excuse me, a "twictionary."

For the uninitiated newbies, or "twebies," Twitter is a service that allows users to create a mini profile and update their status with a sentence up to 140 characters long.

"Micro blogging is the best way to describe it," explained local organizer Laura Klinkner, a self-proclaimed "twitterholic" of more than two years. "It's the most simplistic form of social networking. ... It's keeping up relationships without really trying."

Klinkner, who tweets under the handle "lala k," (not "Twinkler?") uses the service for a mix of professional and personal reasons.

In her job as an information architect ("I make the Internet and software more usable," she explained) for Sundog Interactive, many of her posts are directed at colleagues, either questions or links to articles.

Not all her tweets are so high-minded. She'll also post mundane updates about picking her child up or walking around Menard's bored.

Klinkner follows 78 different Twitter profiles and has 107 followers, or "twollowers." By contrast, she has 174 friends on Facebook.

For her, the difference between the two social networks is that Facebook is really just for friends, while she has Twitter friends, or "twiends," she's never even met, but shares things in common.

Some of those people she may meet tonight, with word of the Twestival being spread almost exclusively electronically. (Unless you're reading this in the newspaper, of course.)

"One of the reasons behind the Twestival concept is that there is no overhead," Klinkner said. "It's very efficient, which is what Twitter and technology are about. We're not cutting down any trees and we're not wasting any time."

Even the tickets are electronic.

"You mean 'twickets?'" I asked.

"Oh my god," she said. "Why didn't I think of that?"

By the way, if you think all this "twittermenology" is obnoxious, you'd be a "twhater."

If you go

What: Twestival

When: 6:30 tonight

Where: Ristreto Coffee & Tea, 4150 40th Ave. S., Fargo

Tickets: Tickets range from $10 to $50.