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Stars stay off Twitter to raise cash for Aids orphans

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Alicia Keys ( left) and Lady Gaga   along with a host of other stars joined forces for World Aids Day, which was  marked yesterday, using social media  to  raise awareness and money to fight the scourge.

Alicia Keys ( left) and Lady Gaga along with a host of other stars joined forces for World Aids Day, which was marked yesterday, using social media to raise awareness and money to fight the scourge. 



Posted  Thursday, December 2  2010 at  00:00

Yesterday, a galaxy of stars “died” in a bid to help raise awareness on HIV/AIDs.

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The group comprising singers, actors and celebrities died a digital death, hoping to push their fans to contribute money to initiatives related to HIV/AIDs.

To revive Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Serena Williams, Elijah Wood, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan Seacrest and Alicia Keys, internet users had to donate over $1 million to an initiative aimed at helping AIDS orphans in Africa and Asia.

Symbolically, the stars killed their online Twitter accounts to celebrate World Aids Day yesterday—denying over 29 million people around the world insights into their lives and vowing to only revive them once the amount pledged had been received.

In their last “tweets and testaments” the stars gave moving pleas aimed at getting their fans to contribute to the fund.

The campaign, was conceptualised by singer Alicia Keys, who said she wanted to put the disease into perspective, arguing that the attention that a celebrity’s death received —even in the virtual world—should be extended to people around the world who had died from HIV related complications.

“This is such a direct and instantly emotional way and a little sarcastic, you know, of a way to get people to pay attention,” said Keys, who has more than 2.6 million followers on Twitter.

Ms Keys’ Keep A Child Alive foundation, which began in 2003, will accept donations through text messages and bar-code technology, which is featured in the charity’s Buy Life campaign. Donations support families affected by HIV/Aids in Africa and India.

Analysts expected that Lady Gaga was capable of raising the entire amount by herself, seeing as she has over 7.2 million followers on Twitter, and nearly 24 million fans on Facebook .Ms Keys first learned the power of texting a couple of years ago, when she appeared on “American Idol” and, with a single on-the-air plea, raised $500,000 in four minutes.

Ms Keys hopes to capitalise on a concept known as ‘impulse giving’, which leverages many of the same principles as impulse buying: because you will texting anyway, why not text for a good cause?

Interestingly, in Kenya, where over 200 million SMS are sent every month, the reverse is happening, and in rather peculiar fashion.

Rather than giving to charities that will help the socially disadvantaged, Kenyans are generously giving an estimated Sh2 million a day of their hard-earned cash to the private enterprises that run competitions promising small cars or instant cash.

Despite the fact that the body responsible for vetting the growing betting industry requires that at least 50 per cent of any money collected in the SMS promotions be paid out in prizes with a further 25 per cent allocated to charity, the reverse is often true.