The big “digital death” movement of A-listers suspending activity on their Twitter and Facebook accounts to raise money for AIDS charity Keep a Child Alive is off to a slow start. So far, only $161,450 of the $1 million goal has been donated, despite pleas from Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest, and Elijah Wood, among others.
I’m not in any huge rush to get the Kardashians tweeting again, and I’m surprised the effort hasn’t been more of an out-of-the-gate success. The thing is, despite having millions and millions of combined followers, the actual cumulative effect of missing a few celebrity tweets is pretty minimal. Even reliably regular Twitter users sometimes don’t post for a day or two (the horror!), so there’s not some gaping hole in our lives where David LaChapelle’s tweets usually go. Twitter and Facebook don’t alert you when someone stops posting — so radio silence from these celebrities is a bit harder to notice than they were hoping. Twitter’s a constant stream of updates from whoever’s posting them, and if someone stops paddling, well, the stream just runs right by them.
Recently, Stephen Colbert helped raise more than $500,000 for Donors Choose by promising Reddit users that if they raised the money, he’d answer Redditors’ questions on the site. And he did. (And it’s great.) I can’t help but think that efforts closer to that kind of fund-and-reward-your-fans model might be more effective.
Okay, PopWatchers, put on your most civic-minded thinking caps and let’s hear it: How do you think celebrities should leverage social media for philanthropy? Have you donated to Keep a Child Alive? Did you even notice that some of your favorite celebrity Tweeters were on hiatus?