TheGrio’s 100: Shaun King, leveraging social media for greater good

TheGrio's 100 - With, Shaun King leveraged Twitter to address the Haitian earthquake's aftermath...

With, Shaun King leveraged Twitter to address the Haitian earthquake’s aftermath. With the help of Eva Longoria, the Atlanta-based minister held the first Twitter-based charity auction, which galvanized more than 150 Twitter-savvy celebrities to raise more than $540,000; proceeds rebuilt the Miriam Center, one Haiti’s only refuges for children with developmental disabilities.

Shaun King is making history … by leveraging one of 2010’s breakout social networking sites to tackle one of the year’s most catastrophic humanitarian crises. As a pastor of two-year-old Courageous Church, King has been using Twitter and other digital outlets to connect with possible congregants. But after the earthquake, King thought he could put his Twitter talent to another worthy cause, and he was right.

Celebrities from Alicia Keys to Shaquille O’Neal to Snoop Dogg auctioned off Twitter activities — following winners, mentioning the winner in a tweet, re-posting something that the winner tweeted, or all of the above. The thought behind the fundraiser, according to King, was that “everyone on Twitter really wants someone famous to follow them, to shout them out, to mention them. It’s something that people want,” he told the Wall Street Journal in September, “but never say.”

What’s next for Shaun?

“In 2011 will grow in a few huge ways to help fans and celebrities come together to use Twitter to raise money and awareness for social good,”” King told theGrio. TwitChange launched its second fundraiser on January 29. For this round of contributions, football player Troy Polamalu has replaced Eva Longoria as celebrity host, and proceeds will go to Operation Once in a Lifetime, a non-profit organization that supports U.S. service people on an array of issues — “every soldier for every cause.”

King also has a March campaign on deck for CARE to promote International Women’s Day, which King thinks “”will be one of the biggest social good campaigns EVER on Twitter.””

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On black history …

“I was an African-American Studies major at Morehouse College and our history provides the groundwork for all that I do. I try to embody the courage, creativity, and determination of our ancestors in fresh ways,” King told theGrio. “They built movements and I feel like I celebrate black history best not by building monuments, but by building more movements to impact hurting people everywhere.”

In his own words …

“We’ve interacted with a lot of the bidders,” King told CNN in September. “We know for sure that a huge percentage of the bidders may love this particular celebrity, but they’re only giving the money because it’s for charity.”

A little-known fact …

TwitChange is widely recognized as the first charity auction on Twitter. The innovation earned a 2010 Mashable Award for Most Creative Social Good Campaign.

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