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Awareness avatars signal charitable support on social networks

Publishing & Media

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Twitter users tinted their profile pictures green to show support for protesters in Iran. In a similar vein, UK-based Lovebox encourages charity-minded social network users to replace their current profile picture with one of its digital Lovebox icons and then make a donation to the charity it represents. A different charity is selected for support each month, represented by an icon of a different colour, making it the digital equivalent of silicone ‘awareness’ bracelets/wristbands. The green Lovebox, for example, supports WWF-UK, while the pink one signals support for Cancer Research UK. As the site explains, “social networks and the internet help us share information quickly. Lovebox is a simple but effective way for you to show your support for charities.” Recently Lovebox also launched #charitytuesday, a Twitter-based effort to mobilize supporters one day each week. Will Lovebox icons become as ubiquitous as awareness bracelets? Time will tell. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting experiment in using the power of social networks and the viral effects they can create—both for commercial or for nonprofit purposes. (Related: Users choose ads for their social web pagesOne-stop-shop for creating viral promotions.) Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann

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