Who Wants to be a Twillionaire?
April 6, 2009, 3:47 am
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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.