Why celebrities on Twitter need journalists and PR folks

malariaI’m pretty sure I was not the only puppy watching Kutcher’s video where he broke 1 million followers on Twitter, scratching my head at the $100,000 check he was holding up as a donation to the Malaria No More organization. Why was this important? Where was the tie-in? Is malaria really that important to stamp out? Isn’t AIDS, cancer and heart disease more pressing?

Today, Peter Chernin wrote an article in the WSJ on why Malaria is an important disease to stamp out. Now, I get it.

Malaria kills 1 child every 30 seconds. It is easy to wipe out with enough money and it eats up limited resources that could be applied to solving the larger problems. It is the “day job” that keeps you from “changing the world” by sapping your energy. I get it because Chernin was able to write clearly.

I found out through the WSJ that April 25 is World Malaria Day. Surely, @aplusk was all over this with his 1 million+ followers on Twitter. Nope. His latest tweet as of this article was a musing over wanting a trap door to have people fall through.apluskfeed Maybe he was promoting it a few days ago. Nope. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

Malaria No More has a Twitter account @malarianomore. If you do a search on malarianomore, you will find a ton of pleas by average twitterers urging @aplusk to promote World Malaria Day.

Does @aplusk have a moral obligation to promote World Malaria Day using his 1 million followers? I think he does. I think the Twitter community would probably agree, especially after his claim that “One man can have a voice that’s as loud as an entire media company.” I think the folks at MalariaNoMore.org would agree that he does as well. Especially since it would take almost no effort.

I’m pretty sure the folks at MalariaNoMore.org are scratching their heads in confusion over Kutcher’s apathy and resultant silence on twitter about World Malaria Day. They have probably gone through the usual cycle of emotions of sponsorship: excitement, exuberance, confusion, anger and resignation. They probably realize by now that they have been and will be all alone in the effort, despite Kutcher’s “support.”

By contrast, If Guy Kawasaki with only a few over 100K followers were to make an impassioned plea to his audience, how many of us would fail to listen? I can’t think of one person.

Should Kutcher suffer the pains of a Twitterstorm for his apathy? We skewered Amazon, Dominos, Motrin, and Target. And these are just brands. Nobody is dying because the brand ignored Social Media. With malaria, people are dying because the awareness is not known, because Kutcher could make a difference but chooses not to.

However, with good journalists and PR folks, Kutcher would not have the option of letting this opportunity go wasted. As it is, he has less than 24 hours to pull something together for World Malaria Day.

Whatever it is, it will come across as half-baked and rushed. I eagerly await the first World Malaria Day tweet from @aplusk.

Ok, now give. DogWalkBlog is giving $100 tomorrow to help with World Malaria Day. If each of @aplusk’s followers gave $1.00, that would be $1.3million. But, I’m not sure why they would as it doesn’t seem all that important a cause to support when nobody is looking.

PS: Proof of the Existence of God. As I was writing this post, I received an email linking to this AdAge article. 🙂

Afterthought: On April 18, 2009 I tweeted out:

Should we listen to @guykawasaki about twitter any more? After all, he only has 100K and @aplusk has 1M, @mileycyrus has 300K+ Thoughts?

Guy came back with an “are you kidding?” response. I was thinking through a thought and it took a week and an article from the WSJ to get to some clarity.

5 Replies to “Why celebrities on Twitter need journalists and PR folks”

  1. I appreciate the mention. Here’s the challenge for celebs. Where do we draw the line and how do we say no to requests by all the charities, non-profits, missing people, who ask. I would bet that the first time a celeb turns down a charity, he or she will get railed upon.

    Any single plea for a good cause is easy, but it can quickly turn into a deluge. If it does, there are two issues: swamping one’s updates is actually the smaller one. The bigger one is scams. How do we know that “StoptheXYZdisease.com” organization and site is legitimate?

    There are challenges to trying to be a good guy.

  2. @guy I agree. We specially DON’T advertise in some markets we do business in and support just because folks troll and expect that if you support one cause, you’ll support another. For celebs, the “layer” of journalism and PR becomes even more important. Direct to the people sometimes is not the smartest route.

    However, in the case of @aplusk, he was the one who flaunted the check and made the “call to arms.” In this case, a good PR strategy with some really smart folks could have leveraged this better. The NY Times would have picked this up as a story about how he is spending twitter capital wisely, Oprah would have gotten into the game, blogs everywhere that skewered him for “breaking Twitter” would have published “maybe he really DOES get it” posts and Twitter would be alive with Malaria trending high.

    As it is, he is letting a “good crisis” go to waste and reaffirming that Twitter, for celebs (not you, of course), is simply an extension of People Magazine, authored by folks who should stick to their craft and let the PR and journalists do the communicating. Pitchers pitch, catchers catch 😉

  3. My big problem with Ashton is he ran on the premises of one man making a difference and have a voice as powerful as the media, to change the world. He said repeatedly, “It would change the world.”

    Well I haven’t seen anything of substance come from his twitter feed. I was not one of the million plus to get punked and follow him. But I have spent time sifting threw his feed and have found nothing with meaning. So even tho his show is over he still punked Twitter the Press and CNN great job Ashton.

    It just said because he is just like the media lol full of crap!

    Owen JJ Stone aka Ohdoctah


  4. I’m so glad you dumped @krogerworks to follow me – because it allowed me to step into your world and I like it. I love this article – because the celebs do not get it. I love the description of how they are using twitter like people magazine. Don’t get me wrong – I love Oprah and the others – but they have a voice so huge and don’t use it. I’d love to be giving big – like Oprah big!!

    They have the same amount of time that the rest of us have.

    I wrote an article a bit ago detailing just what they are missing out on.


    Thanks again – I look forward to tweeting with you!

  5. @Marie I like your take on this issue much better. I hope to become one of those folks you talk about in your post, those that make a difference for people around them. If that doesn’t happen, I’d settle for an appearance on Oprah 🙂

    Thanks for joining the walk!

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