Twitter Apps Unite for Holiday Charity Campaign

charitywater‘Tis the season for dubious acts of viral charity. (Have YOU used your Facebook profile photo to help wipe out child abuse lately?) But it is also peak time for testing new uses of social media to effect actual change. Or at least raise money for a good cause.

OneRiot, a Twitter-centric advertising network, and oneforty, a Twitter app directory, are set to launch a campaign that will turn display ad units on Twitter apps into charitable calls to action. The goal is to raise money for Charity: Water, a nonprofit that supplies clean drinking water to people in developing nations.

Sometime over the next week, Twitter apps including Seesmic, Tweetcaster, Storify, Twimbo and Qwerly will begin showing the ads to users who use certain holiday keywords in their tweets. The ads are simple: The words “Give Water” appear in large text over a background of blue sky and snowflakes. At the bottom is the organization’s URL, Clicking the ad brings users directly to a donation page.

The goal is to raise $20,000 to sponsor a freshwater project at a school or a health clinic that can serve at least 1,000 people with clean drinking water. OneRiot says that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the charity.

“It struck me that during the holiday season there would be an awful lot of people talking about Santa and mince pies and general excess” on Twitter, said OneRiot CEO Tobias Peggs, who studied civil engineering in college in the U.K. in the 1990s. “So how about we target charity to that audience and see if we can use social media for social good?”

OneRiot put out the call for Twitter apps to participate in the campaign on December 3rd and said it is still getting responses. It hopes to launch the actual ad campaign by early next week. Peggs was vague about which keywords would call up the ads, but suggested terms like “Santa” and “holidays” would be among them.

Follow Douglas Quenqua on Twitter at @DQuenqua.

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