Celebrities die online for charity fundraiser

Cyber silence on Twitter and Facebook on December 1st to raise $1M for Keep a Child Alive

Technology trends and news by Katie Gatto
November 29, 2010
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Celebrities such as  Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Elijah Wood, Janelle Monae, Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, Serena Williams and Ryan Seacrest will stop posting on Twitter and Facebook as part of a $1 million fundraiser for World AIDS Day, on December 1.

The big question is, why should anyone care if celebrities tweet or not?

"It is a promising morning when your eyelash falls in your Folgers."

This is a recent post from Lady Gaga's Twitter feed. One of Kim Kardashian's latest Facebook updates reads, "Me and my bestie for life!!" These posts, are not exactly what you would call gems of wisdom that will leave the Internet bereft, should they suddenly go missing.

That is, for participating celebrities who post regularly to begin with.
A quick peak reveals that, at the time of the writing of this article, Mr. Timberlake's last Twitter post was from 11:56 AM, on  November 17th.

This campaign is the brain child of singer Alicia Keys, in order to help support
her charity Keep a Child Alive, according to published reports. The Keep a Child Alive foundation, which has been in existence since 2003, helps to support families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.

In addition to simply doing nothing, in order to support Ms. Keys' laudable efforts, the celebrities will also be featured in videos, called the "last tweet and testament." The ads will feature participating celebrities lying in coffins to represent what the campaign calls their "digital deaths," according to the New York Times.

These celebrities do have a significant number of followers, with Ms. Keys clocking in at a little over 2.6 million on Twitter. Lady Gaga's dwarfs that number, with 7.2 million twitter followers, and almost 24 million Facebook fans. That sounds like a lot of people looking, but you have to remember, when any user does not post on a site like Facebook, and especially Twitter, they are quickly buried under more recent updates. Expecting users to notice a dearth of postings, when all of the other people they follow keep posting, is not really a viable long-term strategy, so this campaign better raise its funds fast.

Speaking of funds, when you consider that most of these people are millionaires in their own right, you have you wonder how much more would be raised if they simply given a percentage of album sales to the charity. Lady Gaga, for example, had her debut album go diamond earlier this year, which means it sold sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

If we assume that all of the 10 million copies sold at the iTunes price of $9.99, and no higher, we can see that even one percent of those sales would have generated $999,000 of the targeted of $1 million it will take to get the participating celebrities up and tweeting again.

For people interested in making a donation to Keep a Child Alive, the charity will be accepting donations through text messages and bar-code technology, via the charity's Buy Life campaign. The Buy Life campaign will work with Stickybits and WiMO. Users wishing to donate by text can text “BUYLIFE” to 90999 to give $10.

The Keep a Child Alive foundation was not available for comment at the time of publication.

(All images in the mashup above are property of the Keep a Child Alive foundation.)

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