Earlier this week a slew of celebrities that included Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys sacrificed their “digital lives” in honor of World AIDS Day. The idea was that these web-savvy celebs would refrain from making any Facebook or Twitter updates — apparently, outside of incessant reminders to donate — until their collective fan-base had raised $1,000,000 to “buy their lives back.” As of the end of the day on Wednesday, The Daily What noted that with only a little over $100,000 raised, “the shameful ploy to demand cash from fans in exchange for fatuous tweets appears to have bombed in a rather spectacular fashion.” So are they any closer to hitting their goal almost two days later?
The short version: Not really. And we think that there are some obvious reasons as to why.
First of all, the minimum donation is $10. Considering that these celebrities have millions of followers among them, setting the bar a lot lower (like, say $1) would have made this campaign a lot more successful, playing off of most people’s preference for easy, mindless giving. Just think about it. Some cashier at the drugstore asks if you’d like to donate $1 to Cause X. You’re probably going to say yes, fearing that you’ll look like a horrible person if you refuse to cough up a dollar. But if that amount is $10? Well, you’re probably going to have to think for a minute about that. Especially if you’re paying for it out of your allowance.
Next, we have to look at the celebrities involved. Not to be cruel, but it’s likely that there are plenty of people who are ecstatic to have the likes of Kim and Khloe Kardashian off of the internet for a while, and are refraining from giving just to keep them silent. It was kind of delusional to think otherwise.
Finally, while we applaud any effort to save millions of real lives affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India, and believe that Keep a Child Alive does great work, we think the cause would have been much better served by focusing on, well, real lives. The reason that they’ve only managed to raise $183,493 isn’t because people don’t care about the AIDS crisis. It’s because a bunch of celebrities decided to make the World AIDS Day all about them.