Its that time again for #BlogSchool, so tuck your shirts in, straighten your ties and no talking at the back.
Twitter, as I have often said, can be a great tool for a number of things.
It can be used to make friends, find out information on blogging events and opportunities, and it can even be used to tell your Prime Minister to fuck off being a Knob.
It can, and has been in the past, used for charity purposes, and has done great things to get messages and awareness across and cash raised.
I’m thinking, to name a few, Team Honk, Sky Diving for Matilda Mae and the Lullaby Trust, even going back as far as Bloggers for Haiti. It also helped a pal of mine to get a One Direction member on board to make a video for a charity she was tirelessly campaigning for, and which I have supported myself, the Ruby Laura Young Fund for Neuroblastoma (they raised £500,000 in under a year, I have never seen anything like it).
Like anything though, a good thing, like the above and the legitimate charities who use Twitter can lend their hand to scam artists.
Yes, that sucks. But such is life- when something is seen as being a great resource to earn cash, you’re always going to get some sod who wishes to jump on that bandwagon for their own cause, rather than someone else’s who needs the help.
Think of Twitter charity bashing like you do those annoying PPI claim phone calls. None of us want them, very few of us will be sucked in and know we can do the claims ourselves and keep the cash. BUT for every 100 calls they make, they get a few people, usually vulnerable folk, who say, “yes, please sort my claim out” and thus they give these bandwagon jumpers free reign to pinch a huge percentage of your cash.
Twitter is the same.
All the while you get great fundraisers who are transparent and will give every single penny to a known, registered, charity, there will always be those who wish to partake of that and make up some phony buzz word topic charity whereby they will give a small percentage of whatever ill gotten gains they get.
Take #BloggersAfrica or #BloggerstoAfrica.
This little hashtag would get me thinking “aha, Oxfam/Sport Relief/Cafod are sending some very lovely and selfless bloggers out to Africa again. That’s brilliant, what nice people those bloggers are, here is £50 for their cause.
Except, when others went a little deeper, only a small, and I mean small, fraction of the £50k they are “supposedly” after raising will go to African Charity. Around £2,000 in fact, which will allegedly go to an outfit called African Impact- I call them an outfit as last I saw, they don’t have a charity number.
This cash is going into a GoFund Me page, not a legitimate source like Just Giving.
According to the ring leader, the rest of the cash goes on hotels, flights, etc etc. And a Mulberry handbag for all we know.
There is nothing, noting whatsoever, wrong with doing something charitable.
However, being clear about what you are doing, and who you are doing it for, is key. And telling people who, understandably, question you and where the cash goes to fuck off, and blocking them on Twitter is possibly not the best idea.
If you really want to help out, you don’t need to do it on your blog. Talk to your local church and help at the food bank, or just donate an extra few bits or things you get sent from brands that you wont eat. Talk to the local Salvation Army- just sitting having a cuppa once a week in a hall with a bunch of elderly and lonely folk can bring warmth to their lives, and your own.
If you have kids, join your PTA! My PTA raised over £30,000 last year through events- something not be sniffed at when budgets are being cut (bloody Dave).
Bloggers beware! If it sounds shifty, it probably is. Put down the credit card and give to a known charity instead.
And bask in the warm fuzzies you get without the publicity of twitter!