For more than two decades, organisations linked to World Aids Day have used the heft of their celebrity supporters to push their message.
This year, though, the celebrities are doing something genuinely unthinkable – they're exercising restraint.
It's part of a campaign called Digital Life Sacrifice, whereby celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and at least one Kardashian will attempt to raise money for Keep A Child Alive by refusing to update their Facebook and Twitter accounts until $1m has been raised. It's a genius idea – it's new, it harnesses social networking, it raises money for a good cause and the celebrities can go away bloated with an even greater sense of self-importance than usual.
That's not to say that it couldn't all backfire, though. Essentially, Digital Life Sacrifice is asking the public to decide whether they'd prefer to live in world where children don't die of HIV and Aids, or a world where Kim Kardashian – essentially a less useful version of Paris Hilton – doesn't use Twitter to bombard followers with links to KardashianKard.com, her dreadful-sounding prepaid credit card website. It's a tough choice.
Obviously there are a few workarounds so you don't end up feeling like a total monster. You could donate money to a different scheme with a similar goal, which would mean simultaneously helping the less fortunate and effectively banishing Lady Gaga to a lifetime of being unable to upload any more photographs of furry unicorns to Twitpic. Or maybe, if you're a benevolent millionaire, you could donate $2m to Keep A Child Alive on the sole condition that Usher promises never to darken anybody's Twitter feed with tweets reading "Whatup Miami?" – or any more witless salutations to seemingly arbitrarily chosen towns – again.
Of course, there's no doubt that this campaign will be a success, and that it'll soon be repeated with even more celebrities taking part. The trickiest bit will be picking the right celebrities. After all, on Remembrance Day Alan Sugar seemed to have trouble pausing for even two minutes without abrasively harrumphing on about his book (he blamed a technical glitch). And there's a genuine worry that Kanye West might suffer some horrific aneurism if he was banned from screeching whatever ambient thoughts happen to be passing through his mind at any given point in time. But that's a worry for another day. We've already silenced a Kardashian. That's enough for now.
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