Friday 18 March 2011

Charity. Twitter. Ego. Ideas.

'Am I bugging you?  I didn't mean to bug ya.'

I've been at the centre of a shit storm over doing something for charity.  Felt the negativity, not just from a random avatar on Twitter, but from someone that claimed to love me.  It's a pretty disheartening experience and back in October I felt that Tweetathon2 had been ruined.  And on a personal level, in the days after it finished, it was, but I continue to hear about how that money is being spent and I remember that it wasn't about me at all and that the doubters should go fuck themselves.

So why the negativity?  Ego.  It's all about ego.  *Sigh*

I've spent a couple of weeks mulling this over.  So here goes... for better or for worse.


I watched as Tw1tterband split 'my' Twitter down the middle.  Not first time round so much but plenty on the night the second song was released.  Yes, the song was wonderful, but my timeline grew more and more uncomfortable as the evening wore on, people I liked and respected weren't impressed, 'Where was the charity link to the JustGiving page?' they asked.  It started to feel like a pretty reasonable response.

People had loved the first one partly because it felt so directly linked to a charity, band members had expressed why MacMillan meant so much to them, it all felt right and although we made a few errors on the site we kept the charity high on the agenda and raised over two grand in the process.  Second time round we, and I count myself within that 'we', raised two hundred and fifty quid for the NSPCC which considering the interest generated around the song doesn't seem a great deal.  Less than ten percent of the cash raised from over twice the views.  The lines got blurred between social experiment on Twitter and a charity event and it didn't sit well with everyone.  I get that.  The responses on the Guardian article went too far, became personal and I felt for my friend of twenty years as he was attacked.  People who I suspect had been quietly outspoken on Twitter took the opportunity to attack anonymously but in a very public place and that felt about as constructive as building a trampoline out of concrete.  Mistakes were made and I hope if there are more Tw1tterband songs produced there's more clarity about whether it's a charity event or a vehicle for talented musicians.  It can, as was proved first time around, be both but maybe it can't be that all the time or maybe we just should have stuck with one charity for all time.

The bottom line is we all have an ego.  Doing a Tweetathon, being at the centre of all that, Jesus, I'd be lying or, like actually Jesus, if I said mine didn't get a stroke.  Of course it does.  I also got a massive buzz from raising the cash.  Anyone who was in this house, watched on the web-cam, or knows me will know that.  I wonder if I hadn't been brought crashing back to earth last October whether it would have gone to my head though.  So you know, cheers for keeping me grounded Kappa.  But, and this is a big thing for me, I get why being at the centre of a shit load of positive Twitter energy can be such a bizarre experience.  Why getting an @ reply from the songs original guitarist might alter the balance of the thing, as cool as that was.

What ultimately concerns me though is the stifling of ideas.  If every good idea got shot down because the person who had the original thought was derided as an attentions seeking, egocentric twat, well, I'd have no iPhone for a start, which would be a very bad thing.  Tw1tterband was (and is) a great idea, just let it evolve into whatever it's going to become without vilifying those that were involved.

If you're after my opinion on Twit Relief you need to have been reading my tweets earlier today.


  1. ....and awful as it sounds, I didn't realise that there had even been a second song until I read this post.

    One of my first experiences of Twitter acting as a vehicle for fund raising was your Tweetathon, and it seemed to be all about the charity - I didn't really get that from Twitterband. Mainly because the idea to form a band seemed to turn up before the charity was decided on.

    Of course people have an ego trip out of raising money - who'd do it otherwise? That's not a bad thing.

  2. Maybe it's just that things can get very fraught on Twitter sometimes -- I know I got that way myself about my own little personal issue. Even though I knew it was all about me and my own frailties, I had to air it on Twitter. Everything becomes magnified and so visible. There was my ego, much more on display than anyone needs it to be.

    My perspective on Tw1tterband was and is that it was a brilliant idea, has been stunningly well executed and oh, how cool, it even raised some money for a charity -- that's fabulous and a plus. The people involved all did amazing things and impress hell out of me. It was a worthy endeavour *whatever* happened or didn't happen with the charity, because imnsho good music makes the world a better place.

    Full disclosure: I'm in the process of conducting some research on how social networking involvement affects charitable giving. We're still developing the software to collect the data, so I don't have any results yet.

  3. Great to do stuff for charity, but why can't we do things for fun too?

    No one HAS to follow Tw1tterband, or you my darling when you are 'thoning

    There is an unfollow button or a cross at the top right hand corner of the screen.

  4. @wo0 I didn't know it was possible to do a bum fart emoticon.