Last Saturday a soccer team I own a part of, the Seattle Sounders FC, beat the Columbus Crew at home 1-0. Columbus hadn't lost a home game in 22 matches, and the victory all but assured us a spot in the playoffs. I was practically doing flips in my office while the game was on, and after the final whistle I acted like an idiot jumping around and pumping my fists as if I'd played the game myself instead of just watching it on TV.
I went on Twitter as soon as the game was over to publicly congratulate the team, and that's when I saw the @ from @Drew. He'd sent me a few more before that I guess, but I missed them. I was about 13,000 followers then and it was hard to see all the @'s I was getting. (Now I really can't keep track. If I see a specific request from someone in an @ reply nowadays it's just dumb luck.) He's this close to being an official cancer survivor and sent a link to an article about his effort to auction of his @Drew name and give the money to the Livestrong Foundation, Lance Armstrong's cancer charity. I was in a GREAT mood, so I tweeted him and bid $25,000 for the name.
By the way, I didn't care less about getting the @Drew twitter name, and still don't. It was a long, slow, steady climb to 13,000 followers and I wasn't about to change my name after all that.
Then I thought about it for a bit, and still in a great mood, upped it to $100,000 if I got 100,000 followers by the time he ended the auction of his Twitter name on November 9th.
Then, after a couple of days after that got a bit of publicity, I went crazy and made it a million for a million followers.
Now here's how I could've handled this better.
I should have just donated the money in the first place without doing the million-follower challenge. Yes, I guess it does "raise awareness" somewhat, but who wasn't aware of Livestrong and Lance Armstrong's fight against cancer? I think they were doing a pretty good job of raising their own awareness without me.
But instead, I think I made it a bit too much about me by making it a contest that benefits me in exchange for my donation. So there it is. My regret. Maybe I didn't make it too much about me. Maybe I just though up a fun way to raise money for a good cause. Whatever. I feel like I made it too much about me, so that's that.
But I'm glad so many people are participating in this. It is a lot of fun, isn't it? And it's cool watching the numbers go up every day. I'm glad the money is going to such a good cause. I'm glad @Drew's plan worked out. So it's all good in the neighborhood, as they say, except the small twinge of guilt about asking for a million followers in exchange for the donation. But I was pretty full of myself last weekend. I own a piece of an expansion team that kicked some serious ass last Saturday. They're probably going to make the playoffs.
So if you're put off by my method, blame them. :)
(And don't forget, tweeps! If I get one million followers by the end of 2009 I'll donate one million dollars to Livestrong. Anything less than a million, I'll prorate it. And it all started with Drew Olanoff, aka @Drew, who has cancer.)