Social media adopters and technology enthusiasts crowded a downtown Washington, D.C. bar last night to give thanks – and to benefit charity. The Tweetsgiving event at BlackFinn American Saloon was part of a global network of events that aim to raise $100,000 in a 48-hour window for an African school.
One of the main organizers of the event, Thankfulfor.com, is a startup website developed by Shiny Heart Ventures, a technology company co-founded by alumna Jen Consalvo (MBA '01). Consalvo also earned her undergraduate degree at AU's School of Communication.
Thankfulfor.com is a collective gratitude journal that encourages visitors to share their thanks via Twitter. A search for the term #thankfulfor on the microblogging service reveals that users are tweeting their thanks more than once per minute. Gratitude for family and friends ranks high in the results; holiday food and having a job are also popular responses.
It's this gratitude that has already turned into more than $15,000 this year in contributions to Epic Change, the charity that is collecting the donations to build classrooms, libraries and orphanages in Africa. Last year’s Tweetsgiving raised $11,000 for a classroom at the Shepherds Junior School in Tanzania, where students are using their newfound Internet access to share their experiences on Twitter and through blogs.
The volunteer organizers of this year's event are hoping that a strong push from online communities, such as Thankfulfor.com, can help reach this year's considerable goal.
To participate in the effort, share your gratitude on Thankfulfor.com or Twitter (using the hashtag #tweetsgiving), help spread the word through retweets, and consider donating to the cause at the Epic Change website.