Celebrities die online for charity fundraiser

Katie Gatto · November 29, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1432

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

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.)

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.