Death of the Twitter Celebrity

**Editor's Note - Fresh Ground is pleased to welcome Kristin Grages to our team.  In addition to doing great work for our clients, she'll poke her head in here from time to time to talk about influencer relations, among other things.**

Much has been made of the Twitter following some celebrities have. Millions of people follow Kim Kardashian and Ryan Seacrest, reading daily about their lives and latest projects.  Sometimes interesting, sometimes not, their voices are heard by millions.

That voice can be useful.  Celebrity (and twitter) can be put to good, productive use; raising money  by pumping up (and pimping out) particular causes.  Pleas go out daily from celebrities for their latest pet charity, often to the betterment of those organizations.

For the latest celebri-twitter campaign, a number of high profile celebrities (with sky high twitter followings) came up with a new strategy.  They'd "kill" themselves on twitter and await resurrection by donation.  "X celebrity sacrificed her digital life to help save millions of real lives affected by HIV/AIDS."  The goal was to raise $1 million.  They hoped to do it in a day.  Now, three days later, they haven't even broken $200,000.

So what went wrong? With more than 26 million twitter follwers among then, this should have been easy.  That's 26 million impressions of... what exactly?  Silence? The problem is, silence isn't a twitter strategy.  It's not any kind of public relations strategy.  The absence of a conversation does not persuade.  So instead of imploring their followers with daily, even hourly reminders to consider a donation, they are silent.  And not actually dead, they're continuing  lives far more fabulous than the donors they seek could possibly imagine.

The flaw in the strategy is within the medium.  Twitter is busy, loud and quick.  With your feed continually refreshing, pumping out updates by the second, who notices when you don't hear from someone for a few hours or even days?  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.  It's up to you to keep up.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

3 comments to Death of the Twitter Celebrity

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Todd Van Hoosear, Chuck Tanowitz, Puneet Gangal, Fresh Ground, Kristin Grages and others. Kristin Grages said: If a celebrity dies on twitter, can anyone hear them fall? The trials and tribulations of celebri-twitter fundraising: […]

  • You know, when I first heard about this, I thought to myself, “That isn’t going to work…who’s going to notice an absence of something? No one.”

    A better strategy might have been to do it one at a time — coordinate it so that other celebrities could promote that one is “missing” and generate donations for them. Not only would it keep the dialogue going but it could help demonstrate the lines of online relationships between the various celebs.

  • kristin.grages

    That’s a great option Bobbie. One celebrity that does it really well is @ThatKevinSmith. While his pleas are almost always NSFW (full of colorful language), he combines self promotion with fundraising perfectly. Today, he offered his fans a chance to see the latest teaser poster for his upcoming movie if they combined to donate $1,000 to The Wayne Foundation in an hour. They met the goal in 30 minutes.

    A word of caution. Visiting just about any ViewAskew page, including the ones about The Wayne Foundation and especially Mr. Smith’s twitter page, will reveal a good amount of curse words. You’ve been warned.