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Is the Digital Death campaign a dead wrong way to use social media for social good?

Do you miss ALicia Keys, Daphne Guinness, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Usher or Lady Gaga? Sorry to say but they might be still dead. Not dead in real life but dead on Twitter and Facebook. The Digital Death celebrity campaign stop using Twitter and Facebook to help bring awareness for World Aids Day started on December 1. So far they have raise $282, 922. which is great but it has been four days and I’m starting to wonder if the celebrities are enjoying their time away off of Twitter and Facebook or they are like hurry up and give so we can get back to posting status updates.

Keep a Child Alive - DIGITAL DEATH

After seeing a tweet from @JessicaRMurray I decided to read the post by Todd Van Hoosear on the Social Media Club website which makes some goods points about the Digital Death campaign. Here’s an excerpt:

These celebrities overestimated the value of a day’s worth of twitter. But more than that, they overestimated the impact their absence would have on their audience, which seems to be rather small. The conversation moves on, whether you’re in it or not.

Death of the Twitter Celebrity via @vanhoosear // Great post Todd!less than a minute ago via HootSuite

Todd is right, going “dead” or silent using Twitter and Facebook to help raise money or awareness was not a good idea in my opinion. I wouldn’t put the blame on the celebrities overestimating the value of using Twitter or Facebook though, but maybe the organizer or their PR firm or agency who came up with the idea. I’m sure they figured that with over 10 million Twitter followers and Facebook friends combined they would raised one million dollars on December 1 and it would make for a good press/PR story but now it may be an even bigger story that it may take a week for some of the world’s most popular celebrities to raise one million dollars for World AIDS day. Also it’s not like the Digital Death campaign didn’t recieve a lot of press/media coverage. Just do a Google Blog search and you’ll see that when the campaign started everyone was blogging about it, from tech blogs, major media outlets and various social media sites. But I hope this is a lesson or a reminder. It’s something social media 101, unless you’re having an I’m addicted to Twitter and Facebook day, if you want to use Twitter and Facebook as a way to help raise money for a good cause it’s all about “engagement, outreach, relationships, and content message. But if you’re silent or “dead” how are the celebrities going to use their social media presence to help raise money? Yes, I know their’s more to social media outside of Twitter and Facebook and I have not looked to see if the celebrities are posting videos, writing blog post, sending email newsletters or using their other media outlets to help raise money but the focus around the Digital Death campaign is they are not using Twitter and Facebook.

As I write this blog post thinking about what I would have done differently, I’m thinking two ways. One being to have a 24 hour celebrity web-a-thon giving each celebrity and hour to perform or live Q & A reaching out to their fans for donations. I know it’s old school but it works. The other would be something using a location-based or web-based platform and matching check-ins to donations. For example I’m using the One True Fan bar on this site and they could have encourage people to check into the site and share with their social graph and tie a donations to check-ins.

Not to criticized without doing my little part. For World AIDS Day, I changed my avatar on Twitter and Facebook to the World AIDS Day badge and sent out a few tweets with information how to help. For a previous World AIDS day, I went and got an AIDS test and posted photos on flickr. Regardless, hats off Keep a Child Alive for the idea, and working with various celebrities for a great cause.

About Digital Death campaign

Starting December 1 – World AIDS Day – the world’s most followed celebrity Tweeters are sacrificing their digital lives to help save millions of real lives affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India.
That means no more Twitter or Facebook updates from any of them. No more knowing where they are, what they had for dinner, or what interesting things are happening in their lives. From here on out, they’re dead. Kaput. Finished.
But they don’t have to die in vain. And they don’t have to stay dead for long. Just watch their Last Tweet and Testaments, and buy their lives back.
Every single dollar helps Keep a Child Alive fight this terrible disease. And when $1,000,000 is reached, everyone will be back online and tweeting in no time.

You can donate and bring back your favorite celebrity along with supporting World AIDS Day here:

What would you have done differently using celebrities for World Aids Day instead of the Digital Death campaign?

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