There are a number of Twitter celebrities that commit Twittercide on a regular basis for no one’s benefit other than their own (Trent Reznor and Stephen Fry have popped their digital clogs on a number of occasions). However, a whole slate of celebs from music to film are about to end their digital lives as part of a charity drive for World Aids Day.
On the 2nd December the likes of Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, Elijah Wood, Lady Gaga, Katie Holmes, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz will all virtually die. In practice this means they will end all Twitter and Facebook activity until their fans cough up a hefty $1M for the Keep a Child Alive charity, which offers support and medical help for children and families affected by H.I.V. and AIDS in Africa and India. The various celebrities have filmed "last tweet and testament" videos and been photographed lying, somewhat glamorously, in coffins to further the ‘Digital Death’ concept.
The message is a clear statement on the saturation of celebrity culture in the face of global suffering. "Why do we care so much about the death of one celebrity as opposed to millions and millions of people dying in the place that we're all from?" said Leigh Blake, president and co-founder of the charity.
The project – set in motion by Alicia Keys – aims to tap into “impulse giving”, with fans simply sending a text with the first name of the celebrity they want to see resurrected to 90999 in order to donate $10. In addition to the direct text option, those wishing to donate can also do so by scanning the Stickybits barcode on the front of ‘Buy Life’ T-shirts.
The $1M figure shouldn’t be hard to reach bearing in mind the numbers of followers this combined effort will hit (Lady Gaga has 7.2M Twitter followers on her own, and as a group they share some 29M). “This is still my storefront, only today the product I’m pitching is silence. If you want me back (and you know you do), pony up,’ said Gaga.