April 17th, 2009
09:56 PM ET

Twittering for a Good Cause

Scott Case
CEO, Malaria No More
Co-Founder Priceline.com

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/04/17/ashton.cnn.twitter.battle/art.twitter.aplusk.from.jpg]

This week, the world discovered a new and powerful weapon in the fight against malaria: Twitter. The social networking and micro-blogging tool mobilized a million people to battle the disease by helping Ashton Kutcher be the first to reach one million Twitter followers—saving lives, 140 characters at a time.

Earlier this month, Ashton decided to help raise awareness about malaria for World Malaria Day on April 25th. To do so, he leveraged his popularity on Twitter to spread the word and encourage his followers to donate $10 mosquito nets at http://www.MalariaNoMore.org. This simple act (or “tweet”) brought a message of malaria awareness to a new audience in an innovative way and galvanized hundreds of thousands of people to take action.

Innovation like this is exactly what’s needed to end malaria deaths. When Ashton challenged CNN in a race to a million Twitter followers, he added a twist: 10,000 mosquito nets for Malaria No More to help families protect their children in Africa if he reached the target first. CNN quickly accepted the challenge and pledged 10,000 nets if they could beat Ashton to the magic number.

The gauntlet was thrown and the race was on. But the fight to end malaria deaths had already scored a major victory.

As a technologist, I’m always looking for the next big thing in new media and breakthrough communications. Twitter is a phenomenal tool—but this is the first time I’ve seen it used in such a powerful way. With this race, Ashton not only showed the power of new media, he also launched what may be the biggest technology-driven, pro-social movement in history.

Every individual who participated in the Twitter race played a vital role in moving the world toward one in which no child dies of malaria. To make a difference, Twitter followers didn’t need to make a large donation or a grand gesture. The race to a million showed that the power of dedicated individuals united behind a common cause can spark a movement. Every Twitterer involved—regardless of whether they followed Ashton or CNN—took a simple action that will have outsized impact in the lives of families across Africa.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds—but we know how to stop it. Thanks to new tools, resources and political commitment across the globe, we are winning the fight against malaria. Public engagement shows our leaders that we are determined to beat malaria. Ashton and CNN’s Twitter race shows how we can catalyze technology and innovation to tackle a social problem and make real and lasting change.

We’re working to end malaria deaths by 2015—we can do it, but we need everyone’s help. Every tweet helps, every mosquito net helps, every person has the power to help save lives. Join the world in the race to end malaria deaths by getting creative and using the tools at your fingertips. Visit http://www.MalariaNoMore.org or use the power of Twitter, MySpace and YouTube to amplify your voice and inspire others.

Ashton set an ambitious goal of reaching a million Twitter followers this week. Inspired by his success, we’re setting an ambitious target of our own: help us get to one million mosquito nets in one week to celebrate World Malaria Day on April 25th.

As Ashton proved today, anything’s possible.

Follow @malarianomore on Twitter

Filed under: Malaria • Twitter
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. karolyn

    Thank you CNN, Mr. Cooper, Mr. King, and Mr. Kutcher for taking the time to report on this important issue.

    April 18, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  2. Bethany Bylsma


    Along with working on ending malaria in Africa, we are working to bring 3000 child soldiers home from the terror they have been living under. Not only is April 25th World Malaria Day – but on April 25th we also hope to celebrate the RESCUE of Joseph Kony's child soldiers. We cannot do this with out your help.

    Please watch a 30 minute film about the man we are seeking to bring to justice, the children who have waited 24 years to be rescued – and the worldwide movement seeking to end this war once and for all.

    YOU have a role in the RESCUE Anderson. We know you've heard – we know you are aware, we know your heart. You have seen Africa, and looked into the faces of many children like these 3000.

    Join us on April 25th in any of the 80 cities around the world. If you can't come the 25th – we will still be out there....SELF-abducted, until you tell this story. And the RESCUE RIDERS will ride...until we see it end.

    We need your voice, your eyes, your words.


    April 18, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  3. Nina Kedar

    It's great that today's technology is being leveraged to bring about powerful changes. And even greater when celebrities take the lead in doing this. Hats off to Ashton (and he's so darn cute, too)

    Nina Kedar
    Mumbai, India

    April 18, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  4. Amelie

    i believe this webpage is called ac360 news and COMMENTARY... if I want a straight NEWS ONLY website i would probably go on cnn's main page. i am a great fan of anderson cooper and i trust his judgement. he is a well rounded person (as i recently heard him on ryan seacrest's radio show) therefore my admiration for him only increased. now, in my own commentary and my own opinion, there's enough hatred and negativism in this world, in my own opinion, if you don't like what's on this webpage then why are you reading it?

    April 18, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  5. Natalie laatz

    your a genius!!!!!!!!!!!this is gonna be big stuff ash!!! How can I donate????

    April 18, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  6. Nancy Andrew

    Hi Anderson! I never realized that Twitter had a good cause until you wrote about malaria and it's relationship to Twitter in your blog. Thank you for this information. Truthfully, I wasn't taking Twitter and its contest seriously until I read your article on it.

    Thanks again for the info.

    Nancy Andrew
    An avid watcher of you on CNN

    April 18, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  7. saharhodakyandrade

    That is a great way to even promote Twitter more, though I am new at Twitter but it is the most growing SM platform
    Adopting a cause is the way to go

    April 18, 2009 at 12:49 am |
  8. Debbie

    what some people don't understand, anderson, is what you and ashton have done is wonderful. and no you guys didn't do it for fame you guys did for human life. so thank you anderson and kutcher. BRAVO

    April 18, 2009 at 12:34 am |
  9. Lori Mirza

    To the post above – Michael, isn't this post about malaria? What's with the "sensationalizing the news".........

    April 18, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  10. A L

    Please post the truth! No cover up here at CNN. The truth is that 1 charity is not the answer. Spreading it amongst many is. Twitter is failing the little people like me who have few followers. NO one listens to us especially not celebrities. The truth is that Mr. Kutcher was asked to donate these nets by one person one day and he agreed. The truth is as good as it was this seems a mission of self gratification to see who will "follow" ones lead and exactly what he does and everyone has it seems. All celebs Mr. Kutcher asked to donate to only one cause with all those #'s we could do more.

    We need more attention on other charitable organizations. We can do so much more but listening is crucial! Please post this truth. We should never be afraid to post truth. I am only one person anyway. You choose to agree or not. I am saddened by this whole # thing. At first it was exciting but what a let down to see everyone being manipulated like puppets into a celebrities hand. It is scary that we can fall to that. I would have loved to see donations go out to everyone and for the Kutchers to promote that.

    Follow yourself. Follow your heart. Celebrities on Twitter please pay attention to your fans if they bother to pay attention to you. Many thanks and kind regards.

    April 18, 2009 at 12:18 am |
  11. Nashy

    It's causes like this which inspires us to tune into your show. way to go AC.

    April 18, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  12. Rachel Rifon

    Hey there Anderson
    Great job on all of your work man I was mad when I didnt get to see ya in Houston for Ike hahaa
    But did catch you at the airport when we had the Superbowl.
    I am in for the donation for the cause gotta help those people. We got some bad skeetters here in Houston and I can imag how they feel.
    Keep up your great work on air!
    Love ya
    Your number one FAN!!

    April 18, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  13. Pam Spencer

    Love AC360, and love AC. Never miss it.

    April 18, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  14. Libby Chapman

    Dear Anderson

    Thanks so much for the way you use words to get the truth out. Following you is a satisfying experience. I sense the Heavenly Father is pleased.

    May you sense his presence

    Libby Chapman

    April 17, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  15. RoseParvin

    It is rewarding to see his technology being used for a good cause verus mass murder of the minds bodies and faith!I told President Clinton on 2/8/1995 when he signed the Information Bill to create Power Balance with Revolution of Compassion Bill for I predicted all the murder and complications that has occured! My books and new Universal Psychology of Health & Excellence teachers that! I am a Spirit Maker!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  16. Dean

    Hi Anderson,
    Thankfully you'll be smarter than listening to such a comment from Mr. Thailand. Great job you're doing, and please keep up the good work.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  17. @blainehorner

    Oh AC, always such a good read, not to hard on the eyes either

    April 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  18. Tony Walker

    Who in America gives a laboratory rats ass about how terrorists or enemy combatants, al quaeda members,.are tortured when the pricks that capture our people don't just torture, they kill our military members. When is the compassion for evil people going to stop!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  19. Ricky Volcy

    More than a good cause!

    It's just the calls of so many, so many in despair, pain and torments that could have been easily appeased. It has been said that cares of the hands are often directed from the heart, and cares that heal and heave one's burdens are often raised from the soul...

    To care for those suffering from that disease is also to care for a world, a better world, that can be managed and often healed with just the right thinking and the ideal thoughts. Therefore, I praise and cherish the cares that Ashton C and A Cooper are laying toward those living in regions where malaria is known to cause more than pain and suffering.

    It's more than Twittering for a good cause, and it's more than just setting the stage for getting all involve in this project. It's about making sure that our universe is well maintained, and that all and all, without regard to race and religion, people of all corners of the world are living fearlessly of what this disease may cause and alter at will. This is to bring comfort and mending those precious lives that may one day contemplate nature as a blessed gift instead of place where we just live to die from the hellish flaws of some unwanted diseases. Malaria must be a thing of the past!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  20. Crystal

    It's awesome to find a way to help do something. The way things are now days it's not like a lot of us can jump on a plane and take our kids to do missionary work...which is deep in my heart...but to be able to help someone when a lot of us need help right now our selves is what this life is about. This is awesome and I am going to do what little I can!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  21. Ricci

    I agree, Ashton Kutcher did something really bold and inspiring this week, and it was pretty uplifting to participate and witness it unfold on Twitter. I have been trying to explain to my friends and colleagues the significance and possibilities offered by social media, Twitter specifically. Mr. Kutcher's campaign illustrated perfectly the opportunities that are available through social media, if we just seize them. I am a single mom struggling to put three daughters through college and care for a teenage son with autism. I am committing to buy 1 net a month for as long as I am financially able. I will also spread the word. T

    April 17, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  22. kristy Noel

    To: Michael Ryan

    The tone of bias you speak of lives in you, Your assumption that the public can't comprehend information and process it without being swayed by bias is absurd. Mr. Cooper has proven to be an extremely credible news reporter and is highly trusted, and respected by the vast majority of Americans.

    April 17, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  23. Kristin

    We as humanity / Celebrity alike have to get involved in the process. If we as stewards of this planet don't act we're in trouble. If Twitter did something to help those people in need. Cheers to Ashton, and CNN.
    Together we raise if not we fall from grace. Connection is key in all areas!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  24. tonis

    Anderson you are the best!!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  25. Disillusion

    Dear AC! Twitter is NOT hearing OUR voice! IT IS FAILING OUR VOICE! It heard one mill followers follow Ashton Kutcher! I was logged in the day that AK got the email from a girl re: the Malaria nets & should've been donated to UNICEF (a MUCH broader charity). It was NOT his idea! He agreed to donate per her request! The one he answered perhaps because she had over 100+ followers. I have pleaded over and over again for Tweeps to flood celebs, including you, to remember the twitter universe need not be a follower to the literal extent! We can follow our own goals using or own minds!

    The point is to help bring light to ALL CAUSES! Not ONE cause. No celebrity has responded bcuz truthfully us small people do not matter to them at all! I was a fan and am deeply saddened at this. What may have been once a good faith was a PR ploy & 2 see others "Follow" to one cause is disgusting as I sit in my bed and fight for my life and others who have illnesses and concerns right here in USA! Point is this only proves that if one celeb can manipulate people then he will and brainless celebs think they are doing good by "FOLLOWING" their actions! THINK! Should charity not be spread?

    I'm not demanding any .orgs just asking for people to give where their heart wants to.. not to prove anything. Any NO ONE has yet to listen! You can be the first AC! I have faith in you! You've traveled the world and seen there are many more problems then JUST malaria! Many more NPO's that need funds. As far as I know malarianomore has not even been verified for fund safety! Not Ashtons idea so he should not take the credit! Celebs are just making normal people feel worse about themselves as day by day we are never answered, as kind as we ask.

    AC and CNN feel free to use my email to contact me further. I can list many more org's that don't go to me either. Wish they did! But stem cell research may be helpful. C'mon! Aren't we more important right now then being treated like pawns in a game of "winning"!

    April 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  26. HLL

    You just keep doing the great job reporting the news. If others think they can do such a great job- then why aren't they reporting news. Thanks for your passion for reporting the news

    April 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  27. lisa marshall

    hey anderson...love ya

    April 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  28. Sheila

    I'd love to meet for a latte and discuss "universal health care" for Americans. Come to Canada and see how a great program works.
    regards, Sheila Ethier

    April 17, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  29. Gayle

    I think the last comment by Michael Ryan has Anderson Cooper Confused with FoxNews and Hannity.
    Keep doing what you do AC and I will keep watching you, by the way this article was on Ashton Kutcher and Malaria.
    What a wonderful idea it was of Ashton to come up with to gather so many people to come together for a great cause even Oprah has joined in and is donating 20,000 nets..
    Thank you Anderson, Larry King and Ashton Kutcher.

    Gayle in Oklahoma

    April 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  30. Sandi B

    I use to watch CNN but your recent reporting has become as low as MSNBC. The reason both of your networks are losing so many viewers is because you are so obviously bias. The comments made by Anderson Cooper and some rookie report about the Tea Parties have done nothing but cause more anger in middle american. Your network should be ashamed of itself.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  31. Debra Young

    The story of the boy who commited suicide because of the bullying at school is truly sad. I am an elementary school teacher. I don't tolerate bullying, but of course, I have to know about it in order to help.

    Only about two weeks ago one boy in my class teased another boy about "being gay." Since both of the boys are third graders, I first told the bully that he can't do that. I told him that his comments hurt the other child's feelings, and that if he continues treating others mean that no one will want to be his friend. Then I called the bully's parents that evening and told them firmly that bullying is never tolerated, and that if I hear of it again that I may suspend their child from school. I will go to any end to stop or prevent bullying. At the beginning of the year I teach acceptance so strongly that few kids dare to make fun of another. I am the authorinty in my classroom!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  32. Marie Anne Sam - Alabang in the Philippines

    This is just a 'breather'-from the gloomy news we're seeing daily! And I love the 'breathing space'.

    I signed up with Twitter for this Twit war and I'm glad I did!

    Sometimes, simple stuff you did; spells a lot to some people - without even you knowing it !

    April 17, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  33. Jade

    Dear Anderson Cooper,

    I Love CNN and love your absolutely love your show. I feel more people should use technology, even if some people feel its useless and boring. Facebook, myspace, youtube and twitter now have proven time and time again that it can be used for good causes and I applaued people that want to make a difference. I also want to thank you for your hard work and dedication for always bringing the best informative shows and news to your viewers. Keep up the brilliant work. The work issues may seem at most times overwhelming but it only takes one person to make a difference. We must always remember that and keep fighting to save even one life.

    A loyal fan.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  34. Laura Ellis

    You do your job well! Why don't you follow some of us regular folk? You can't imagine how intelligent some of us really are! Too bad the "regular folk don't actually get heard!

    April 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  35. Stan

    Thank God for the New dialogue between President Obama and Chevez, I hope we can start to have positive communications betweeen the 2 Countries.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  36. Jenn P

    Isn't that the reason why it's called News and COMMENTARY? That's why AC is allowed to use words like "enemies" and "raising eyebrows"

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  37. iris a hart

    i dont watch the news often. i leave that to my husband. it gives us something to talk about. every time he talks about you mr. cooper he tells me how in touch with everything you are. we all think you are doing a great job in letting us know what is going on in this messed up world we call home.

    April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  38. Michael Ryan

    Dear Mr. Anderson Cooper,

    Please discontinue sensationalizing the news and simply report it. In your coverage of Presidents Obama and Chavez' meeting, descriptors such as "enemies" and 'raising eyebrows" immediately portrays a tone of bias not conducive to needed change. You report the news, now please do this.

    Michael Ryan
    International English teacher
    Bangkok, Thailand

    April 17, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  39. xoxo

    i love ac360

    April 17, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  40. xoxo

    i love u

    April 17, 2009 at 10:03 pm |