Well, I almost made it. I had decided after my last post here, that I would blog no more until my parental leave was finished tomorrow. Sigh.
What brought me back a little early was a conversation I had earlier this evening on Twitter.
Over the last few days I’d been seeing Tweets from Geoff Livingston and others about something called @ChildFund and reminders that every 200 new followers sent more aid to children in Africa. It seemed a little odd to me. How did another 200 followers make more aid available for starving kids in Africa? It would be more logical if they were asking for donations instead, and every $200 raised sent more aid to Africa. That would make sense.
For days, I couldn’t figure out how simply following a Twitter account with 199 others suddenly made more aid available.
So today I asked.
@GeoffLiving I’ve resisted asking till now – how does amassing followers help African children, exactly?
Unfortunately there wasn’t anything there to allay my feeling that we were being manipulated into following a Twitter account. I could not get around the logic that if there was money (aid) set aside for followers (and there must be because the followers are revenue-neutral) then why hold it back just because some threshold had not been reached?
What followed, when I said aloud (on Twitter) that the campaign seemed manipulative, was unfortunate.
Mr. Livingston, someone I’ve worked with (briefly) and respect as a thought leader in the non-profit social media space, came out swinging. I don’t know if he didn’t understand the question or if he simply didn’t want to answer it, but all I got back was string of answers to questions I wasn’t asking (like “How do more followers help CFI?”) peppered with ad hominem attacks.
In the end, my question goes unanswered. Why would @ChildFund limit the amount of aid sent to Africa to the number of followers of their Twitter account?
So let me speculate a bit in the absense of an answer. I’m guessing that CFI set aside a specific amount of money for this campaign to be donated at those 200 follower increments. Note that this is money/aid that CFI already has since they aren’t asking for donations from those followers.
My suspicion is that the aid in question was destined for Africa regardless of how many followers @ChildFund gets – but that’s not the impression given in the campiagn. There’s a very strong “more followers, more aid” message in the campaign.
But let’s say I’m wrong and more followers really does mean more aid to Africa. The would mean that in the end, @ChildFund would be sending less than they could if they got less followers than they expected. That doesn’t seem right either.
IF you read the Tweetstream between Geoff and I, you’ve seen his answer to a question I didn’t ask about how more followers helps CFI by indirectly increasing donations. The only way this “every 200 followers = more aid” thing works out logically is if CFI has some magic formula whereby they know the 200 more followers will bring in X amount of donations down the line. From that they can calculate how much aid to send on behalf of those 200 followers. That seems pretty unlikely to me.
So I’m still wondering. How do 200 new followers to @ChildFund actually result in more aid to African children?Pin It