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Social Media Pledges Raise Thousands for THON

Hundreds of students took to Facebook and Twitter last week in an attempt to raise money for THON. This was the second such social media campaign in the last month, the first being the #CyberCanning movement which attempted to make up for the cancelled third canning weekend in January.

It all started, much like many successful movements, with an idea. Last Tuesday, freshman Rules and Regulations committee member Brandon Shoup decided that he wanted to come up with a fun, new idea to help out THON. Brandon had been spending a lot of time trying to figure out a simple way to achieve two goals – raising money for THON and to spreading awareness of the cause beyond the Penn State community. He realized immediately that posting a Facebook status encouraging “likes” as well as “shares” had the potential to go completely viral. Pledging to donate a certain amount for each like, and a higher amount for each share, Brandon posted this status:

**~Personal THON Pledge~** For every “Like” this status gets, I’ll donate $0.10 to THON. For every “Share” (if you Share this, that means you are willing to take the pledge too), I’ll donate $0.25. I highly encourage everyone who sees this to participate, Penn State student or not! Cancer affects everyone, so it’s up to all of us to help in the fight for a cure! THON 2012 is on Feb. 17th, please “Share” this and let’s try to raise as much as we can For The Kids! ~FTK~

His idea was that if people shared it after they liked it, their friends would do the same and it would increase his total as well as personal donations from all of his friends. The ease of liking a Facebook status was what helped this campaign take off.

After posting the original status, Brandon shared the idea with his Rules and Regulations captain, who shared it with the rest of the captains and all of their committees. When a shortened version of the post was created, he continued to share it with all of his organizations and encouraged his friends to do the same. Within minutes, he saw it beginning to catch on. The pledging even spread to students from other schools, Penn State alumni, high school students, and parents of Penn Staters. By Friday, many Penn Staters had at least one version of the post in their news feed.

After spreading through Facebook, the trend took to Twitter (changing the “likes” to “retweets”). Although there isn’t a way to accurately quantify the amount of money raised by this campaign, it is safe to say that it is probably over a few thousand dollars. Thanks to the undeniable power of social media, participants received anywhere from 20 to 300 likes, and some even achieved over 500 retweets!

After the missed canning weekend and many other obstacles faced during this THON season, it is refreshing and inspiring to see students taking to social media to do everything that they can to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. For Brandon Shoup, “being a part of this and seeing everyone’s enthusiasm this [past] week has really made me proud to be a Penn Stater.”

Did you make a social media pledge to THON last week? How much did you raise?

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