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Twittering for a cause: Web 2.0 and its philanthropic impact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook may have just reached the 250 million user mark, but Twitter is the real media darling.

From news coverage to business marketing and back to the personal stories that launched it, the many uses of Twitter have revolutionized the way society thinks about communicating, 140 words at a time.

Twitters newest incarnation, according to TechCrunch, is philanthropy.

While the Washington Post reports that Facebooks version of social media philanthropy - the Causes application - has received less than stellar financial results, Twitter philanthropy (or "tweetraising") has already provided promising returns.

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The power of Twitter, especially in terms of philanthropy, may lie in its ability to spread information like wildfire.

Tweetsgiving, for example - a fundraising blitz in November 2008 - managed to raise more than $10,000 in 48 hours to fund the construction of a new classroom in Tanzania.

Another Twitter-based charity event, Twestival, brought together Twitter users in cities across the world on February 12, 2009 to raise money for charity:water. The event raised $250,000 in donations for the nonprofit, which is dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to developing nations.

Twitter itself has a long-term fundraising project in place, called the Twollars Project. Each Twitter user is given 50 "twollars" - virtual Twitter currency - which they can use to thank other Twitter users for being helpful or generous, or which they can donate to various charities represented on the website. The charities can then redeem the twollars for real currency.

Network for Good also joined the tweetraising movement with the "tweet4good" profile (@tweet4good) - to donate, Twitter users write a message that puts a dollar sign before the name of their charity or cause of choice (for example, $autism). The user then receives a direct message linking them to where they can make a donation.

With a recent report by Forrester Research projecting that there will be 2.2 billion internet users across the world in the next five years, charities that leverage the internet and social media could see a huge difference in both awareness and donations.

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