Celebrity 'digital death' campaign off to slow start

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?

Read more:
Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and Usher will quit Twitter for AIDS charity


Comments (85 total) Add your comment
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  • lol

    maybe they should have had the celebrities pose nude and keep removing digital clothes slowly until the goal is reached and then we see their beautiful peckers

  • Sarah

    It’s funny how celebrities think they are somehow “punishing” us if they don’t Tweet for a while and expect us to be upset and donate money to get them to Tweet again. Here’s an idea, why don’t they donate the money themselves?

    • Joseph

      I would have to agree with you Sarah. They should be the one to donate!

    • whatevs

      That’s what’s always bothered about me with these things. Some celebrities do donate, but not nearly enough in both number and quantity.

      Yet, they ask all of us who don’t have any to donate.

      • Pookie

        I frequently find celebs annoying, but how do you know who donates and how much? You don’t.

    • Peter

      No kidding. If they each paid the price of one Gaga dress, they’d probably have their million and then some.

    • Mica

      Oh, but they’re donating their time! Balderdash! $10,000 is chump change to them. Imagine if they all dontated at least that amount–the charity would make a lot. Instead, the celebs get more media coverage to make more money while 2 in 10 of us don’t have jobs! (I’m including the people who’ve fallen off the unemployment charts because they’ve been unemployed for so long, there are not more benes for them.)
      Right now, I have Christmas, bills, my own charities. My job disappeared a few months back and the few that are around have 100s of applicants. I know I’m bitter, but I never want to hear a tweet from any of them.

    • Peter

      Or how about they ask the various award shows to forgo the gift baskets and instead donate the money that would have bought them?

      • Devin


      • toni

        yeah peter!

    • mostboringseasonever

      While I applaud the charity they are wishing donations for, I think it’s extremely self serving and incredibly narcissistic of these celebs to think that the world is really going to miss their self aggrandizing tweets for a day.
      We are in the worst economy the countey has seen in more than 50 years, if these celebs truly care, let them give up the ridiculous amounts of money they make instead of asking their fans to do so.

    • Sia

      It’s funny how all those celebs get on my nerves and it’s funny that their so popular and even Justin Bieber couldn’t do crap either if he decided to do this.
      AND YES THEY SHOULD PUT UP THEIR OWN DAMN MONEY. We all work our butts off.
      The nerve of these celebs.

  • susie

    I’d have to agree with Sarah. There’s a lot of charities out there and with already tight budgets, it’s difficult for most of us to give to every charity and cause celebrities choose to champion. Local food banks and hospice holiday drives get my support during the season, so they might need to get used to the tweeting hiatus.

  • Tcrab

    maybe they should have offered to never tweet again if $1m was raised

    • Jelly

      I would pay a $100 bucks for that

  • Season

    It’s sad when a cause has you rooting for AIDS.

  • Sara

    I admit I follow some of these celebrities who have “digitally died,” and realized that I may just kill them from my feed altogether…

    • kathleen

      me too! especially the kardashians!

  • Sara J

    Not using social media is not equivalent to dying from AIDS, and this is a hideously tasteless way to raise money for such a worthy cause.

    • Charlotte

      You hit the nail on the head.

      • toni

        yeah Sara J!

    • Death & AIDS R Not Hollywood Fodder

      This grand idea was utterly tasteless. How about these celebs matching $ 4 $ what their fans donate. This is a great cause but the campaign was beyond ill conceived -As an African I find it appalling because we do not play with death like that.

  • ‘k

    Is it just me or, given the “cause”, is that picture of Elijah Wood in really bad taste?

    • Allison

      All the celebrities did photos like that for the ad campaign for this – “Entertainment Weekly” did a feature on the shoot for Kim K.’s photo.

      • ‘k

        I’m not picking on him specifically. I’ve not seen the others and I don’t do FaceBook or Twitter so I’m out of the loop there. But isn’t that whole concept just tasteless?

    • Mr. Holloway

      I totally agree. I think it’s incredibly creepy. Then again, I’m weirdly sensitive to that sort of thing. (For example, you’ll never catch me sitting in a wheelchair or anything like that – too afraid of bad karma.)

  • Maz

    Oh, Hollywood. You never cease to amaze with your bottomless well of narcissism.

  • Erin

    Please stay dead. Will not miss their shallow tweets.

  • amt

    Im really not feeling the whole dead casket scene. It was done in poor taste.

    • Melissa

      I’m going to have to agree. Extremely self-serving and in bad taste. Do they really think we care that much about their tweets? I find this extremely sad.

  • Rasha

    Honestly, this is the dumbest idea for a charity ever. Instead of singing on on twitter, and having a huge ad campaign about it, they could have used Twitter to inform people about their cause, and donated the money for the ad campaign TO THE CHARITY! It’s a recession and the fact that people think we’d give money to them just so they’d tweet again is really, really stupid.

  • derek

    Instead of asking us, normal people to donate, celebrities (who are millionaires) should simply donate themselves and raise the money.

  • Mandy

    ditto what others have said…they should be the ones to donate. Who cares if they don’t tweet. I am just really tired of seeing famous ppl ask for money for charity. I get they want to support a cause but it doesn’t bother me any if JT or the Kardashians don’t tweet for a couple days. Big deal! It also irritates me when they ONLY tweet when they are asking for $ for a cause. Edward Norton is one of those.

  • rebecca

    I agree! I don’t have the money to donate to this kind of thing! They should just donate themselves…. Seems kind of selfish on their part. I myself am jobless too! I don’t want to donate what little money I do have to bring them back to life.

    • Krista

      really you can’t give them $10 or something like that?? i’m in college and even I could do that.

      • Peter

        Being in college is a long way from being on your own and jobless.

      • whatevs

        Some people don’t have $10.

      • Sia

        Yes some people can’t afford ten bucks. Why don’t these millions donate ten dollars. Your just as sick as them.

      • Ashley

        Regardless, we all seem to have access to computers, so we’re better off than most. Some people on Twitter might be jobless, but there are millions out there who have never even had the chance to use the internet before…

        The campaign was tasteless and those celebs didn’t really think this one through, but we could all use a priority check.

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