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Lawyer Offers to Give $25K to Charity if He Gets 25K Twitter Followers

Posted Apr 21, 2009 8:22 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A blogging lawyer doesn’t think he can top Ashton Kutcher, but he has been inspired by the actor’s agreement to donate 10,000 malaria nets to charity as a result of winning a race with CNN to sign up 1 million Twitter followers.

Seattle personal injury lawyer Bill Marler has a more modest aim: He wants 25,000 additional Twitter followers by the end of the month, and will donate $25,000 to a charity if he achieves the goal.

Marler, who represents victims of food-borne illnesses, made the offer in a post at his Marler Blog on April 17, when he had about 1,650 followers. Three days later, Marler tells the ABA Journal, he has an additional 275 or so followers.

Twitter was originally created as a way to keep in touch with friends by answering the question, “What are you doing?” Posts have to be 140 characters or less. Many blogging lawyers are now posting on Twitter as well.

Marler has been using Twitter for a couple months, posting news of what he is doing and what he is blogging. His followers include “foodie-type people,” government health workers, journalists and other lawyers. He doesn’t view the service as a way of generating clients, but he does see it as a way of communicating with government and media representatives interested in food-safety issues. He also uses Twitter to follow food-safety news, but is finding that it can be “another one of those Internet time drains.”

Marler reports some critics claim he made the offer for ego gratification. “Any criticism leveled against a lawyer for their ego, I suppose, is pretty much on the mark,” he muses. “The reason I did it, I was just so fascinated by the whole Ashton Kucher CNN thing. I thought it would be interesting to see if people would respond to an offer like a dollar for each follower.”

Marler says he’s a little surprised that the post hasn’t generated more followers, but he has generated some great suggestions for worthy charities. “It’s run the gamut,” he says, from Parkinson’s disease to sustainable farming to “a reply from somebody in Africa who wants to put in a permanent well in the village.”

Marler says he already donates money and helps raise cash for good causes, but the recipients have been traditional charities such as the Red Cross or education. Even if he doesn’t meet his goal of 25,000 followers, Marler says, he’ll probably donate the money anyway.

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