Ben Parr, a co-editor of Mashable, tonight became the latest in a series of indistinguished charity-for-followers scam artists on Twitter. Here’s a recent tweet of his:
“I’ve decided that I’m going to donate 10,000 pennies ($100) to charity, one chosen by whoever is my 10,000th follower.”
This charity scam is disingenuous for three reasons. First, why develop a person marketing campaign in order to get $100 into a charity’s hands? Give privately and thoughtfully like so many others. There’s no useful need to advertise. Second, why benefit personally? The notion of not giving $100 to charity without getting something (followers) in return is selfish. Why not just give money to the best crowdsourced charity idea from current followers?
Third, why not get others involved? Rather than follow Ben Parr, why not have them follow the benefiting charity? Then, money is given and new followers are involved in the charity’s story – not Ben Parr’s. Selfish social scams suck. And there are enough bad actors giving social media tools a bad name without getting charities all wrapped up in a nice story that amounts to just another way to inflate influence scores. People may argue that this is just hunky-dory – at least a charity is getting money! – but style points count too. Ben Parr and your social media charity scam brethren: Get off the charity runway.