I've always enjoyed how the web gets into the holiday spirit. Google has been celebrating holidays by changing its logo to a holiday theme since 1999. And a quick look around the social web last Halloween and there were so many companies putting Halloween costumes on their logos, that there was even a contest for the best ones!
And celebrating holidays (or planning for a holiday) on Twitter is also becoming a tradition but these are community-driven efforts and some have been connected with raising money for good causes. The first example and a brilliant one was "Trick or Tweet" cooked up by the good folks at FutureNow.
So, now we have another holiday twitter event - Tweetsgiving, the goal of which is to put the giving back in Thanksgiving by spreading stories of gratitude across the Twitterverse...and across the world. And, course, to raise money for a school in Tanzania.
I'm not sure the spirit of giving during Thanksgiving is absent this year, but it's a great message and reminder in these difficult times, like Geoffry Livingston's message about how social causes can humanize your company.
Aside from a holiday theme and messaging and other factors, I think the key to successful twitter strategy for good causes on Twitter is how you leverage the power of rapid word of mouth and spreading of information - that is the power of the retweet as Jeremiah Owyang suggests in this post. He points out that "Retweet" (sharing a link or tweet from one of your followers with your followers) is a social gesture indicating endorsement of an idea.
He further describes how this works:
As a result, the most powerful activity within Twitter is to watch the “Retweet” phenomeneon. A retweet is when one individual copies a tweet from someone in their network and shares it with their network. It’s perhaps the highest degree of content approval, it means that the content was so valuable and important that they were willing to share it with their network –causing it to spread from one community to the next –retweets are the core essence of the viral aspect of content spreading. Early research from Peter Kim indicates that twitter users are brand sensitive, and spread information. Since content can be shared, consumed on mobile devices, this information can rapidly spread faster than any other infectious technology we’ve ever seen.
He also talks about the need for ways to measure this velocity and how we can expect some analytic tools that let us see metrics for retweeting of your message. There are some early harbingers of this - like Twitinfluence which uses measures based on social network analysis.
So, while we're all twittering our gratitude to change the world or spreading our donation requests via Twitter, perhaps we might think about some ways we can take action in the real world to give to others during Thanksgiving. Need some ideas? Here's a great post from Razoo "10 Ways To Give Back At Thanksgiving."
How will you take your gratitude one step further into the real world for something that is important to you?