Profiting From Charity

It seems, recently, there has been a terrible glut of natural disasters. With them, a corresponding call for aid and a generous outpouring of charity and help.

Twitter plays it’s part too. Red Nose Day in the UK utilised and entertained via twitter, the uprising in Egypt in particular used twitter to spread information within Egypt and to show the atrocities to the outside world.

A new trend on twitter seems to be, in my view at least, profiteering from the charity appeals. Particularly, the most recent, in Japan.

How many times have you seen tweets like:

for every celebrity follower/retweet/reply I get, I’ll donate 10p/£1 to charityname

My interpretation of this is; I want more followers, bigger ego, something for my money. I’m not giving to charity for nothing, I want something back. Sort of, the opposite of the point of charity.

It’s not noble to promote how you are giving to charity. Doing a nice thing is made considerably less nice if you profit from it and/or tell people and therefore, possibly profit in goodwill.

Now despite my natural cynicism, I guess when individuals do this, to suppose there is ulterior motives is unfair to them.

When organisations do this, however, it is profiteering from the ill fortune of others, trading to benefit from the kind will of whomever reads your ‘offer’.

If I choose to give to charity, I will do so. If you want to, I suggest you do. If a company wants to, it should and it should not expect something in return.

Otherwise, it’s just cheap publicity on the back of someone’s misfortune.


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Turning Big Userbase Into Big Money

Twitter has come in for a considerable amount of stick in the past couple of weeks. This is since the latest update for their Twitter iOS app.

As a bit of history, Twitter was a bit slow to release their own custom iOS app and relied on people using the mobile version of their website. This wasn’t great and dev houses capitalised on this by creating their own apps using the Twitter API. They did very well at it too.

So much so that Twitter themselves bought one of the best apps around, Tweetie, and rebranded it as their own, free app. A good move all round.

Then came the update for their iOS app and a new aggressive tactic.

Twitter, being quite upset that people are charging for their apps when Twitter get no money for providing the API, have recently started targeting some apps which they deem to be abusing it, or ‘misleading users’. The highest profile app that they withdrew API support for was UberTwitter (a very popular BlackBerry app which has since been re-launched as UberSocial).

The second source of user contempt came from the relaunch of the Twitter iOS app. Users who updated found a new ‘Trend Bar’ appearing on the feed list showing the current Trending Topics on Twitter.

Firstly, the implementation was poor, ugly and intrusive. Secondly, the trends being shown were not localised (e.g. UK) but were instead Worldwide. Which usually means US.

Also, and I suspect Twitter’s main motivation, the Sponsored Topic would be displayed. Basically, a phrase that a brand will pay Twitter to show in it’s Trending Topics.

Twitter has had a couple of bad PR weeks then. The emphasis shifting from social media to profit making. The fact that Charlie Sheen was recruited to Twitter by a commercial agency this week is further proof of how Twitter is changing.

Ultimately, the question remains. Facebook and Twitter have huge user bases, access to those users is a hugely valuable asset. How does Twitter make money without alienating the user and moving Twitter away from it’s social community roots, to a celebrity advertising network?

Facebook has gone some way to profitability by containing adverts on every page and allowing third party apps. But how do twitter make money? Adverts on the full website won’t be well received, it’s something Twitter themselves have said they won’t do. Mobile ads are tolerated more, and as we’ve seen, sponsored content is too easy to avoid and it’s effectiveness is a matter of debate.

Twitter’s next option may be to start charging third party apps for using the API. Is that the fairest way for paying for the expensive business of maintaining the network?

Nothing is for sure except one thing. Twitter hasn’t produced the answer yet, but it will have to. More importantly, will the changes continue to drive this undesirable migration from social community to celebrity advertising network?

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A Sit and A Think

A good sit, there is little better than opportunity for a good sit, particularly when you are busy and a pause in itself is more than welcome.

Well, over the past couple of days, I’ve had ample opportunity to sit and little hope of doing much else. Except maybe a variation, a lie down. It soon becomes apparent that you can have too much of a good sit.

You might say, the true value of the sit is intrinsically linked to the scarcity of the opportunity to sit and the proximity to the last sit you had.

I should, at this point, define what I mean by ‘sit’. Sit is not merely the action of resting your weight on your soft bit. It is almost a state of mind, a meditation. I’d go as far to say that the most important part of the sit is the opportunity to think.

With a nice brew, maybe some background music/noise, peace and a blank mind. This is the opportunity to sit, sit and think. Your mind calm, heart rate slowed and muscles relaxed, sit begins.

It was during a good sit today, I started to think. In dire need of something besides TV sport and playing on the Wii to keep me occupied on the winter weekends, I need something to occupy me constructively.

An idea is what I need. I am able to comprehensively develop web sites, supporting systems and could, with a not insignificant amount of work, set up some sort of website for myself and start advertising myself as a small-scale web developer.

Although, in doing this, I would be putting myself in competition with a huge number of similar people, some who do this for as a full time job and others who are considerably better than me at it.

I thunk on some more, I am keen to create a service/product/website/idea myself. My web skills should just be another tool to help me, not my product itself.

A great idea I’d thought around was the website Rated People. A site which links local workmen to local jobs. Where both parties are interested and is not just another Directory service.

I think their website and service is a good one, but I think it can be better.

So, to surmise, this is the kind of thing I thought about today. I suspect, I shall be spending a lot of my sit thinking over the coming weeks mulling it over and developing it.


–Congrats on making it this far, I hope future blogs will be more concise and less of a mind dump as this has been.–


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Hello world!

Welcome to my Wynne Myself blog.

Name is purely chosen as it was the only one available that I’m likely to remember.


I guess, the posts you are likely to find on this blog will be things that I want to say that aren’t able to fit inside 140 characters on Twitter.


All will become clear, to both you and I…



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