Digital 'deaths' saves millions
The online world of celebrities fell silent for less than a week, but all for a good cause. The Digital Life Sacrifice saw American celebrities ‘dying online’ on World AIDS Day, which was 1 December, by giving up their Twitter and Facebook accounts until the Keep a Child Alive charity had raised $1 million. These were not D list evictees from Big Brother or America’s Got Talent either. The organiser, Alicia Keys had enlisted the help of Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest and Kim Kardashian, to name a few.
It’s an inventive use of celebrity power and social media. It was interesting to see just how quickly their devoted followers donated in order to get them back online – the numbers were pretty astronomical. At the last count Gaga alone had more than seven million followers on Twitter and 24 million followers on Facebook, whilst Kim Kardashian has nearly 5.5 million Twitter followers. It’s a slick multi-platform campaign, with some impressive technology being employed. Not only were donors able to call in or text their donation, but each celeb was photographed in a T-shirt with a unique bar code on the front. Smart phone users could then scan the barcode from the printed advert, billboard or screen with their phone, using Stickybits or Wimo, to be directed to a microsite where they could donate directly. Publicising it via social media allowed them to reach audiences that the more traditional forms of media would probably pass by. It would be worth knowing if apart from generating a huge amount of publicity, it actually engaged the online audiences. With the volume of people involved, it is no wonder these A-listers were silent for only six days.