Everyone from big corporations to wannabe musicians is trying to do something with social media but no one really seems to know what. That hasn't stopped them though and a recent initiative for fundraising on Twitter looks like it’s got some things right. Twollars, as both the service and the currency are called, will be available for every Twitter user for them to distribute as they see fit.
Twollars don't have any real value and donating them is as easy as tweeting something like “@vitaminangels 5 Twollars because they are a fantastic cause.” I know what you're thinking – this is just what we needed, people feeling good about themselves donating no real money with a few typed words. But the way the system works is actually pretty smart.
A twitter user will start with 50 twollars. They can't spend them in any way but they can donate them to charities or other users as a sign of appreciation. You can buy more twollars directly from charities or from sites giving them away to their visitors. There aren't many such sites yet but it is hoped that companies will buy twollars from charities with real money and then give them away for good PR. If you are a registered charity you can cash in the twollars at an exchange rate of 10 Twollars = $1.
With the twollars system people will have a way of helping the charities they support even if they don't have any money to donate. It's also good for charities as the most valuable ones, or the ones with the best PR team, will be able to receive the funding they need. And it's also good for businesses looking to raise their awareness and score some good PR points in the process. It will be very interesting to see how successful this initiative will be and also what lessons about micro-payments and virtual currency are to be learned, especially since it looks like a direction many social networks are going – Facebook for example, with others, like Hi5, already have a virtual currency system in place.