One of my recent columns on Mashable tied together overarching themes from mega charity events like Twestival, 12for12k, Tweetsgiving and CrisisCamps. To get the information, I interviewed the four organizers cited in the article. Each interview was fantastic and informative in its own right. So with my editor’s blessing I am publishing the unedited interview source material over the next couple of weeks for general consumption.
The following is Stacey Monk‘s Twestival interview. Stacey founded Tweetsgiving, an event that has spread gratitude in the most altruistic of ways throughout the country at live events around Thanksgiving, and through the interwebs. Here is Stacey’s interview:
GL: What makes Tweetsgiving unique as compared to other large-scale social media events?
Stacey: I think TweetsGiving is unique in that, by asking participants to share their gratitude, it asks participants to contribute from their hearts first. It’s also one of very few to be successfully implemented by such a small, upstart nonprofit.
GL: How does Tweetsgiving attract the long tail (large amounts of people) so successfully?
Stacey: By asking people to reveal a part of themselves, and participate in a global conversation on a universal theme, we create an opportunity to cultivate the sense of heartful, authentic human connection we all crave. In addition, many, many people who participate in TweetsGiving do not choose to give financially.
Asking for money is difficult for many, but gratitude is something most of us are happy to share – so the meme spreads faster than typical “donate now” campaigns. Finally, truthfully, I don’t think it feels slimy like some corporate “follow us & we’ll donate” campaigns which people are sometimes reticent to spread because they feel like the cause has “sold out,” so to speak.
GL: In spite of its size, people seem to feel a relationship with you and local Tweetsgiving organizers. How did you achieve that?
Stacey: We are connected. This is old-school grassroots love. People who participate feel like they know me, because my heart, my authentic self, my gratitude, is all up in this thing (You can read this to find out why).
I’m not sure how else to say it. Avi, a Twitter volunteer who reached out to a foundation who funded his salary – and our only paid employee, does a great job too of imbuing each community member with a heartful connection to him, me, Mama Lucy, and our story. I’m also not willing to sacrifice the heartfulness of TweetsGiving for the sake of rapid scale.
GL: What can a cause learn from your effort?
Stacey: I hope causes learn to respect the humanity of giving – to stop trying to reduce the act of giving to the push of a button or the sending of a text. To change the world, we need people to realize our connectedness even more than we need their money. Stop designing for dollars, and start designing in ways that restore the humanity of giving.
I also hope causes begin to learn that we are not two communities – a community of donors & a community of beneficiaries. We are one. Last year over 550 tweets came from students, teachers & parents who stayed up all night to share their gratitude from Tanzania. We were all part of the same conversation, and I think that’s incredibly important.
GL: What’s your favorite social media tool that you used for Tweetsgiving?
Stacey: Can I choose three? I love Twitter for the connections it creates. I also love Tori’s Eye, the beautiful visualization tool by Quodis that they graciously customized for our use on the TweetsGiving site. Finally, BuddyPress is rad in its ability to create a community and retain the data. Make that four: Eventbrite rocks too.