Today saw the launch of twitrelief, an online charity auction in which people can bid for a twitter follow from their favourite celebrities, with proceeds going to Comic Relief. It’s launch caused a bit of a fuss on twitter, to put it mildly. As expected, the more cynical sector of the twitterati were up in arms about it, with views ranging from the “self-important celebs making us massage their ego in the name of charity” variety to the “it’s not just in the spirit of twitter” variety.
Personally, I don’t see twitrelief as being different to any other charity auction where items donated by celebrities are offered to the highest bidder. And if you read further into this, you’ll there’s more than just a follow being given away in a lot of cases . For example, the highest bidder for Miranda Hart gets a signed Miranda script as well, while the winner of Richard Curtis’ auction also gets a walk on part in his next film. Any attempt to raise loads of money for what is no doubt a worthy cause is a good thing in my opinion.
There is another reason why I like this idea. One of my pet hates on twitter is the way that some users pester certain celebrities in order to get noticed by them. Go on twitter at any time of day and you’ll see people – teenagers in particular – spamming the timelines of their idols (and those of others) with tweets along the lines of “OMG PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CAN YOU FOLLOW ME/TWEET ME I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!”, only to get pissed off when they don’t get what they want. Now, if I was a famous person, I’d see that as more of a reason NOT to follow someone than to follow them. More to that though, I believe that if you’re going to be followed by anyone or get a reply from them, especially someone of note, then you should earn it. Thus if an individual can muster up a load of money for charity in order to have the privilege of a follow from their hero, then in this case, they have earned it. If twitrelief can make all the kids begging celebs to follow them shut up for a bit, then I’m all for it. More importantly, if it can make them dig into their pockets, if not to make a bid then to donate straight to Comic Relief, then it can only be a good thing.
On another note, reading all the negative comments about twitrelief made me wonder whether the people making them would object if I, a non-famous twitterer, were to tell all prospective followers that I would only follow them back if they promised to donate at least £5 to Comic Relief. I’ve no doubt they probably would, but sod them.