Microsoft has kicked off a 30-day i'm Talkathon, ostensibly to raise awareness for their i'm MAKING A DIFFERENCE campaign which donates a portion of ad revenues from Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail to various charitable organizations.
The i'm program was kicked off in March 2007 and to date has raised over $1.5 million for ten well-known charities.
The i'm Talkathon features a fictional 20-something named Parker Whittle. “Whittle” will be trying to IM with as many people as possible over 30 days, and is promoting his Talkathon through a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, a variety of other social networks, and of course email and IM.
To join the promotion and “instruct” Microsoft to share a portion of the ad revenue generated as you chat, you need to add the special i'm symbol to your display name in Windows Live Messenger. There are ten special codes, each tied to a specific charity, so you can direct where you want the money to go.
I think Microsoft is on to something. They are giving people a reason to tolerate advertising in their IMs by appealing to their sense of social responsibility. It doesn't require much effort to “join” the i'm campaign, and it just might make people feel a little bit better about Microsoft (whom some people feel is a Big Evil Corporate Giant).
Anyhow, in case you run across anything about the i'm Talkathon, now you know what it's all about.
I don't really get it.
I appreciate that I can “donate” a portion of the ad revenue generated by my use of Windows Live Messenger to a charitable organization (as long as it's on their list of ten). But why the fake persona, fake blog, fake twitter/facebook/flicker account? This fake dude is going to get me motivated to do…. what?!? I'm sure as hell not going to have a chat with a non-person!
Can someone explain what the point of this is? Is anyone excited about this? Does this make sense to Microsoft from a marketing perspective?
Suppose it does not hurt to agree to it, you can also choose your charity. If they do donate anything I suppose it's worth it. But no I am not getting excited ;0)
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