Between tracking the latest swine flu outbreak, crunching numbers for taxes and following the latest health care reform efforts, there are a lot of things for people to spend their time thinking about…and this is all outside the burdens of our everyday lives. Especially if you have a “9 to 5” job (which more often than not probably seems like an 8 to 8 job), then your mind is probably overrun with things to think about and finding the time or mental capacity to stand up for a global cause can be daunting.
So what gets people involved in championing a good cause?
On a daily basis, more and more celebrities are becoming active in standing up for global health initiatives and using their celebrity status to drive attention, as well as recruit support and money for their chosen causes. But how are the Hollywood elite connecting themselves with everyone else to accomplish their goals? Online, of course.
In preparation for World Malaria Day on April 25, it was recently announced that the Special Envoy for Malaria at the United Nations will incorporate a social media component to their efforts for the next year and has named a special envoy of journalists, digital experts, business executives and celebrities to lead the charge to use online tools to build a following with the hopes of making a difference. The idea is that a little action every month from these public figures can yield a big impact for global health.
Celebrities getting involved is hardly a new concept. Take for instance the dean of global giving, Bono, who has long been a champion of the ONE campaign to stamp our global AIDS and poverty. Stars have always banded together in the name of global crisis, for example, the recent effort by celebrities to organize relief to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti a few months back. On this occasion, CNN added Twitter as a key tactic to raise money. The network gathered a hoard of stars to take to the web and use their celebrity power to generate awareness and funds. The big difference is that celebrities have begun to capitalize on the everyday value of their visibility and have started advocated on the daily for their causes.
Singer and actress Mandy Moore has become a vocal leader in the fight against cervical cancer and has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to advocate increased awareness and vaccination. Cervical cancer is not the only cause for the singer though; she also recently visited Washington to lobby Congress about the lack of safe drinking water around the world.
And Moore isn’t the only one to visit D.C. recently to raise awareness. Actor and star of NBC’s Heroes, Greg Grunberg, was in D.C. last week to speak with members of Congress about epilepsy and to take part in the National Walk for Epilepsy. Epilepsy is a cause that is personal to the actor since his 13-year-old son has seizures. Grunberg spent a good portion of time leading up to his trip to spread awareness for his cause and raise money for the walk with his 1.4 million Twitter followers.
Child star Soleil Moon Frye tweets about Alzheimer’s awareness and Ashton Kutcher raised money and sweeping awareness around malaria during his public race last year with CNN to see who could gain one million followers first. And of course, Lance Armstrong actively posts about cancer.
On their own, they each might be dedicated to a cause, but their public persona gives them an instant audience to whom they can spread their message and make an impact. Twitter is the soapbox on which anyone can stand and proclaim to a global audience that they can make a difference, and with celebrities at the helm trying to do some good-we might just make that difference today.
For more information on celebrities and the causes they support, visit http://www.looktothestars.org/.