Who Wants to be a Twillionaire?
April 6, 2009, 3:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

How to earn money on Twitter. Image courtesy of Google. Well, my grandma requested to be my friend on Facebook today and it’s official – everyone is on Facebook. Everyone.

The social networking trend continues to grow in popularity, and it seems like the media have made Twitter the latest phenomenon.  According to a post on Business Insider, Twitter traffic has increased by 1,382 percent over the past year, reeling in more than 7 million visitors as of February 2009. And the success of the micro-blogging site has not gone unnoticed. A recent post on Tech Crunch stirred up rumors that Google was interested in acquiring Twitter for a deal around $250 million. Although some reports state company insiders were interested in the deal, sources said CEO Evan Williams wouldn’t sell for $1 billion.

How would you like to be on the receiving end of that deal? Not too bad for a Web site that doesn’t even make any money yet…or does it?

One Tweet Could Make a Difference

Charity:water Twestivals raise money for a good social cause. Image Courtesy of Google. Twitter has the ability to instantly connect celebrities, politicians, journalists and ordinary citizens in two-way communication. While Twitter presents a variety of networking opportunities, some organizations have utilized the technology for social good. After all, where else can all these audiences be engaged to instantly rally around a cause?

Charity:water, a grassroots effort to establish and ensure accessibility to clean drinking water worldwide, decided to organize an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline. The nonprofit organization planned to raise awareness and funds through Twitter as a cheap, direct marketing path.

In January 2009, a tweet went out asking for cities to join in hosting a “Twestival” on February 12, 2009, with the intention of bringing participants together, via Twitter, meeting face to face, enjoying entertainment and having a few drinks while raising funds for the cause: “Tweet. Meet. Give.”

 A post on Beth Kantor’s blog prior to the event read: 

“This event will certainly make fundraising on Twitter move front and center as well as demonstrate how the age of connectedness and social media is continuing to have a profound influence in changing the way charities raise money. I suspect the amount raised will be impressive.”

And the response from the twittersphere was nothing short of impressive. More than 200 cities around the world hosted Twestivals and brought more than 200,000 twitter users together to raise more than $250,000 for charity:water. Did I mention this was all planned in only a few weeks for almost no cost whatsoever? Unbelievable.

Could Twestivals change the nature of social media fundraising forever?

Harnessing the networking capabilities behind Twitter didn’t happen on its own. Twestival planner Amanda Rose said the events were a balancing act of figuring out what was appropriate for the Twestival sponsorships and keeping the supporters engaged. Her role involved the following tasks:

  • Setting the strategy
  • Writing the guidebook
  • Mentoring city organizers
  • Establishing teams for sideline projects
  • Working with the charity
  • Securing partnerships
  • Developing website content and communications

Tweet your way to the Top

Twitter is obviously a powerful networking tool, which has the ability to bring people together and make a big impact with very little time or money. As young professionals entering the public relations industry, it’s crucial to understand how these networks operate, and how to integrate them effectively into a company’s communications or marketing strategies. As more businesses continue to cut costs by utilizing Web-based forms of communication, understanding social media is going to be a huge asset when promoting yourself to future employers. 

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7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is an amazing story. My husband and I raise money for non-profits in traditional ways. I guess we’d better get twittering. I wonder how well a twestival would work on a local level. I love your blog. And I know what you mean about Grandma. She’s my friend on facebook too.
MJ

Comment by MJ

Nice entry, Amanda. It’s amazing how social media is changing the way so many industries do business. Everyone is having to cater their business to fit into social media. And they should! It’s so powerful and a perfect way of communicating, of creating a conversation. And as a graduate in a weeks weeks, you’d best believe I will leverage my “expertise” in social media to my advantage!

Comment by Brittany Thoma

Nice post, Amanda, but I disagree with Brittany. Social media support a function. They are not the function. There is an enormous difference between the two. Charity: water’s tactic was to raise money through a fundraiser. It was not to use Twitter to raise money. I’d be willing to bet a festival would have happened regardless if Twitter even existed. The fundraiser, however, was a huge success because charity: water effectively used its available communications channels to reach its publics.

Comment by Bill

Hi Amanda,

When you read how Twitter and other forms of social media are changing all aspects of communication, aren’t you glad PRKent drills social media into our heads? I know having a grasp on Twitter and how it can be used as a powerful communication tool will only benefit graduating seniors in their upcoming job searches.

Great post!

Rebecca Odell
http://coffeehour.wordpress.com

Comment by Rebecca

I know. It’s like one big global twitterfest. The world is jabbering all at once. How do we get any work done?

Lee
Twitter.com/LivingRichLee

Comment by Lee @SoGettingRich.com

Great post! Have any Twitter fundraising events for charity used Pledgebank or similar online “challenge offer” systems?

We’re interested in exploring ways that Twitter-based giving can stimulate sustainable self help ventures in poor areas.

Best,

Mark Frazier
Openworld, Inc.
http://www.openworld.com and http://www.entrepreneurialschools.com
@openworld (Twitter)

Comment by openworlder

Thanks for all the great feedback!

Rebecca, I think about how lucky we are to be part of PRKent all the time! And to think- three years ago, Bill would go on and on about blogs and Twitter and I had no clue. And now look at us, I agree with both you and Brittany and plan to “leverage” my experience with social media when I’m looking for a job after graduation.

And like Lee said, how do we get any work done? It’s dangerous, I’m pretty sure I could spend my whole life trying to keep up with Twitter and the blogosphere… it’s a balancing act between establishing a presence online and still maintaining a “real” life. These social networks require so much time and work to stay current. But because Twitter is so global, I have a feeling all the time we invest in social networks is worth the efforts because it gives people the ability to connect with each other across the world in immediate, two-way conversations like we never could before.

Comment by aekozma




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