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Digital Death: Celeb Twitter Quitters Flunk Test

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 8, 2010 10:00 AM

The irony is impossible to ignore.

The good news: the celebrity-led "Digital Death" social media campaign to raise $1 million for the Alicia Keys-backed Keep a Child Alive project that kicked off on World AIDS Day succeeded.

The bad news: the temporarily dead stars who’d pledged to go digital cold-turkey until the funds were raised couldn’t wait for it to happen organically, as originally intended.

So frustrated with the time it was taking, just $450,000 raised in six days, they convinced Brooklyn-born billionaire pharmaceutical executive Stewart Rahr to donate $500,000 so they could resume their digital habits.

Rahr, who recently sold his drug wholesaler distribution company Kinray for $1.3 billion, is best known for the $45 million house he owns in the Hamptons and regular mentions in gossip columns.

Gawker’s caption on a picture of savior Rahr reads: “Kim Kardashian's Continued Tweeting Is the Fault of This Man.”

Kardashian, whose tweets can earn up to $10,000 each, was champing at the bit. Usher couldn’t help himself and started tweeting early Sunday morning. On Monday he tweeted, "I'm alive! We raised $1mil to help KCA fight AIDS. Thank you so much and never stop buying life!"

A source cited in the New York Post blamed crashed servers for slowing donations, lack of promotion and an overestimation of the celebs’ Twitter power.

More to the point, another source said, "Some stars thought the money would be raised in 24 hours and were embarrassed by criticism that nobody particularly cares about their Twitter presence."

So — huzzah! — Alicia Keys and her husband, rapper Swizz Beatz, plus Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Lady Gaga (who appeared to take the digital death bit to heart), Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Daphne Guinness and others are now resuscitated and back tweeting and Facebooking.

May a telling experiment in personal power on social media and a bittersweet result… rest in peace.


D. Flinchum United States says:

“Why didn't the Keep-a-Chi­ld-Alive "celebrity­-death" campaign work? Because it always helps when nonprofits tie a campaign back into their mission. It supports fund-raisi­ng when we are able to see a humble cause brought to life, not when we are reminded of unbridled consumptio­n, high-flyin­g style, outlandish excess, and promotion of globally popular celebrity brands.
We live in an entertainm­ent culture where media channels are simple conduits to advance the interests of celebrity brands. Finding inspiratio­n and being reminded about the importance of charitable giving hardly feels at home in this context. My article: http://bit­.ly/h9SNqa

December 12, 2010 09:15 PM #

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