This week, we offer our condolences to the family of the late Alicia Augello Cook.
Unfamiliar with Ms. Cook? Don't worry. Her fans didn't seem to care that she died either--at least not in the digital sense.
Better known by her stage name of Alicia Keys, the Grammy-winning songstress used her connections to launch the Digital Death campaign--an effort coupled with World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 in which Keys and some of her Hollywood friends pledged to stop tweeting until fans had donated $1 million to Keys' Keep a Child Alive charity.
Great cause. Terrible social media marketing plan.
The digital funeral procession, which started on Wednesday, has raised slightly more than $200,000 (as of 2:30 pm Central time on Friday). It appears these stars will mourn the loss of their Twitter accounts for a while longer.
Amid the current social media frenzy, it's completely unfathomable to think how wrong this campaign went--just terribly, terribly wrong. Nauseatingly wrong. Someone should be fired wrong. Yes, that wrong.
This campaign is the exact opposite of what they should have done. Twitter is among the most powerful communication tools these celebrities have--maybe the most powerful.
By tapping on their smart phones, they blast a personalized message to millions of fans.
Imagine if your organization was launching an important campaign, and you walked into your boss's office and said: "I have a novel idea. Let's not use social media--at all!" At best, you'd be laughed out of the office; at worst, you'd be fired.
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian could have asked their 7 million followers (collectively) to donate $1 each, and Keep A Child Alive would have reached their goal in minutes. An hour, tops.
And while I dare not call these celebrities vapid or shallow--I am thinking it, really loud--anticipating that the world will swoon over the loss of a few self-absorbed tweets isn't really an incentive that'll get me making withdrawals from my bank account.
Worst part is that (alleged) vapidity and shallowness is preventing families in India and Africa afflicted by HIV and AIDS from getting the money they need.
While some say rules are rules--as this silence in the Twitterverse has been pleasant for the last few days--I say rules are meant to be broken, and the needs of those suffering can't stay mum. I say the Twitter world forgive these failed celebrities, as their hearts were in the right place, and allow them to once again tweet until the money is raised. And then they should DOUBLE that amount with their own money.
Let us not forget the great deed Justin Timberlake once did in bringing sexy back to the world. While salvaging their marketing plan is out the window, perhaps JT--along with Keys and the rest of the "deceased"--can still manage to resuscitate some sort of life back into this terrible, horrible, no good, lousy campaign.