Tag Archives: sponsor

Letters to Father Christmas

I was walking past the central post office in São Paulo with my wife yesterday when we noticed a lot of people sitting around at tables reading letters. Wondering what was going on, we went in and asked.

It turned out that every time a child in Brazil writes a letter to Santa Claus or Father Christmas and puts it in a post box, it ends up at the central post office. The staff there assign a code number to each letter and make sure the address is not visible, then they allow the general public to read the letters.

If you find a letter you like, you can fill in a form that says you will buy the gift the child requested in their letter to Santa. All you need to do is go out and buy the gift then drop it off at any post office with the code number of the child’s letter. The post office will then make sure the gift is delivered.

So a child can write to Santa and the post office will deliver exactly what the child asked for! The post office staff told us that over half of all requests are answered – which I expect means that almost all ‘reasonable’ requests from children are actually answered.

Santa letters - Correios

We went through the letters and picked out five we said we would support… of course the kids asking for a new Playstation go to the bottom of the pile. We found kids asking for a toy train and one even asked for some clothes because she had not had any new clothes since the previous Christmas. It’s quite easy to spot the kids who actually deserve to be answered and those who are just asking for yet another video game.

What a great idea and how thrilling for a kid who drops a letter in the post box to ‘Santa’ to find that the postie comes a few weeks later with exactly what they wanted – and a Happy Christmas note directly from Santa!


Farewell Ealing Tweetup…

I wrote on my Computer Weekly blog here about the handover of the Ealing Tweetup to Hayden and all the other regulars at the event. It’s been a lot of fun putting these events together and seeing how the event has grown over time – it’s a shame to say goodbye, but I’m sure it’s going to continue growing because the event has a great amount of momentum behind it now.

When I could see the event getting bigger I thought about how it could easily be sponsored. Getting some free food and drinks would make it more attractive to the regulars and would help to start bringing in a bigger audience.

Of course, getting corporate sponsorship is a double-edged sword. It’s great to get free drinks, but it can be hard to keep something like a Tweetup as an informal gathering once companies start pumping money into the event. They want to know who is attending, what company attendees are from, what position they hold, and especially whether there are any people from the media in attendance – being close to the BBC and Sky in west London that’s been quite a common occurrence anyway.

But I don’t think we ever let the sponsorship take over the tweetup. People have been directed together, go and have a chat to so-and-so, but there has never been a formal name-list, name badges, list of attendees. It’s never been that kind of event and I hope it stays that way, even if it means buying a pint in future.

I’m really grateful to the companies that have sponsored the Tweetup – namely 1e and Xerox. They have all realised that to go ‘too corporate’ would ruin their involvement in the event and instead of people feeling genuine gratitude at their help in pulling together something interesting, there would have been a negative reaction at any over-controlling nature.

I hope future sponsors of this, and similar events, can also see the value in getting positive mentions online and building relationships with the blogging community. Good luck for the future tweetups in Ealing!

Introducing the Ealing Tweetup