Today, May 14, 2011, is this year’s World Fair Trade Day. The day is an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organisation whose mission is to enable producers to improve their livelihoods and communities through fair trade.
A certain favourite ice-cream company of mine is raising awareness of the day by asking people to donate the spare characters of their tweets. On the Ben & Jerry’s Fair Tweets site, you can type in a tweet to send out to your followers – and any of the 140 characters that you don’t need will be used to add in a message about fair trade. Here’s a promo video, explaining the concept:
And here’s a recent post of mine demonstrating a #FairTweet.
There’s been a lot of preparation here. There are different messages available depending on how many characters are left over. When I experimented with a one character tweet, the website added:
World #FairTrade Day is May 14. Now you can share all your unused Twitter characters to spread the word. #FairTweets http://fairn.es/6tu
When I only tried a longer message with only six characters left over, it just added the #FT hashtag.
This could’ve easily been a promotion campaign for Ben & Jerry’s – but their positive PR is coming from stories about the application, such as this one on Mashable, rather than the tweets themselves. It could’ve also been used as a fundraising exercise, with every tweet linking through to a single donation page. But instead, those shortened URLs point to a range of different Fair Trade websites and articles: Fair Trade USA, Catholic Relief Services, the Fair Trade Resource Network, and so on.
For me, this makes it more interesting. I want to see what the different-length messages say. I want to see where each of the links will take me. And I’m learning a whole lot more about fair trade in the process.
To tweet your own message, visit www.fairtweets.com. Happy World Fair Trade Day everyone!