Celebrity Presence And The Failed Die-Out

Awhile ago a variety of celebrities declared themselves dead, not Tweeting and such until enough donations to fight AIDS came in.  Despite this being for a good cause, it was a failure at the time as noted.  The site now appears to have donations up to par, but it sort of looks like  . . . well judge for yourself (http://buylife.org/).

So why didn't this death-on-social-media have an immediate influx of donations?  I think part of it was the odd, kind of self-centered method of raising funds and the tastelessness of it.  The other part was that the celebrities stopped being celebrities.

Celebrities need to keep a presence for people to be interested in them – because part of celebrity is people taking an interest in you and your life.  Keeping up that flow of information is not a reward to fans or something special to them – it's an expected part of being a celebrity.  Removing your presence from Twitter and Facebook means the people that follow you in those medium are losing something they figure you should be doing anyway.

If you're not going to provide that presence, they're going to care less, not beg you to come back.

This was a strange and arrogant move by the celebrities, despite it being for such a good cause.  I think it indicates a definite misunderstanding of the internet and the mechanics of celebrity.  I also don't think any stunts like this are coming any time soon.

The takeaway from this is that your social media, media, personal branding presence, etc. can have different meanings to people.  You need to determine if the use of media and communications is something that is "required" like it is for other celebrities – if so, then you'd better keep it up.

Steven Savage