Deconstructing David Perron & Erik Johnson Twitter Charities. [BLUES]


Athletes and philanthropy.  It’s not a new concept in St. Louis, where local stars regularly take an active role in the community.  For good reason, these efforts are lauded by the collective fan base and respective media.  Charity by distinguished personnel provides inspiration for civic selflessness.

Blues youngsters David Perron and Erik Johnson recently headed up their own recent charity effort.

The concept is simple.  If David Perron gets 20,000 followers on Twitter, he’ll donate $5,000 to charity.   If Erik Johnson reaches 15,000 followers, he’ll do the same.  A nice little teammate rivalry with some cash donated to charity.

What could be wrong with that, right?

Well, before we collectively present Perron and Johnson with congratulatory stick taps to the backside, let’s take a deeper look at this one.  Don’t get me wrong; charity, in most cases, is fantastic.  As it relates to sports, community involvement shows maturity and leadership; two characteristics that the Blues need from both Perron and Johnson.

But Twitter philanthropy just reeks.  Like, worse than the inside of Jaroslav Halak’s glove.

Allow us to count the reasons.

1.) Using Twitter is a sneaky mechanism for self-promotion.

Let’s pretend that David Perron and Erik Johnson each teamed up to give $5000 to the St. Patrick Center in Downtown St. Louis.  And then, they bought billboard space along Highway 55 to proclaim their selflessness to rush hour traffic.  An extreme example to illustrate irony?

Perhaps.  But how is this any different, really?  Perron or Johnson are using Twitter to advertise their own philanthropy efforts.  Just because Twitter itself is the driving force behind the eventual goal doesn’t mean we should ignore that it’s a tremendously convenient platform for self-promotion.  Makes the whole thing feel kind of slimy.

2.) Gaining Twitter followers has reciprocal value.

Twitter has become a viable business mechanism, especially for athletes/celebrities.  At the very least, name exposure increases value, especially in an industry that covets marketability.  At the very best, an advertiser will notice Perron’s or Johnson’s inflated follower numbers and pay them to tweet a photo or beneficial opinion about their product.

Is asking for more followers a convenient way to get fans involved?  Yeah, sure.  But if you’re a Blues fan on Twitter, you’re probably already following David Perron and Erik Johnson anyway.

3.) They could just give the money to charity.

Ah yes, of course.  Let’s not forget that two professional athletes could give the money to charity and shut-up about it.  There’s a noble idea.  Plenty of everyday citizens embrace civic endeavors without attribution.  Many athletes do too.  Heck, Perron and Johnson may be frequent unrecognized contributors.  This isn’t one of those instances.

Perron, in particular, has a history of Twitter campaigns.

4.) Promotion for the charity is lost.

One of the great things about notable personalities backing a charity is the promotion that is attached to said cause.  Thus, the charity receive a monetary gift *and* valuable advertising from its spokespeople.

Using Twitter as a charity platform limits promotion for the beneficiaries and their cause – especially when you only have 140-characters.

5.) They’re both paid quite well.

Perron signed a new contract back in July which puts his yearly average rake at $2.1 million.  Last summer, Johnson signed a two-year deal worth $2.6 million per season.  For sake of simplicity, let’s put them both at $2 million.  Cut it in half to account for taxes, and a $5000 grant is 0.50% (as in, less than 1%) of their yearly salary.

It’s equivalent to a guy making $50,000/year giving $125 to charity.

A nice gesture?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  But let’s hold back with the Noble Prize presentations.


tweet: @MattSebek


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