Could Twitter fatigue have reached critical mass? Or are we just fed up with being manipulated by famous faces drip feeding us bits of information about themselves in an attempt to keep raking it in?
It certainly seems that way, as celebrities including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Kim Kardashian wait in limbo for their online avatars to be resurrected as a campaign to raise $1 million (Dh3.67m) for charity struggles to attract donations.
"It's genius, because [social media] is the new thing, the new age, and fans, they want complete access," participant Jay Sean told MTV.com at the start of the initiative. "They want 100 per cent of you 100 per cent of the time. They want to know what you are doing now! They don't want to wait and read it on a website; they want to know now!"
But as of Sunday morning the Digital Life Sacrifice campaign, which began on December 1, had only taken in $290,576 – a paltry amount considering that Lady Gaga alone has 7.2 million followers on Twitter.
The campaign by Keys’ Keep A Child Alive charity aims to help save millions of real lives affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India with a headline-grabbing initiative that has had 20 celebrities, including Usher, Lenny Kravitz and Serena Williams cease updating their social media pages, leaving fans without information about what they ate for dinner or how they heart Haiti.
Another 3,000 or so people outside the celebrity bubble also gave up their digital lives, but money is still only trickling in at the BuyLife.org website.
One reason thrown up by the blogosphere was that the minimum donation had been set too high, at $10, somewhat of a stretch in these straitened times. However, the charity has since cut the minimum donation required to $1, but fans are yet to bring their idols back from the dark side.
Gaga attempted to boost donations on December 3, taking to Twitter to remind her fans that she needed their help to come back. "Lady GaGa is still dead. Text GAGA to 90999 and donate USD 10 to help children fighting HIV/AIDS," she tweeted.
Keys, too, has been Tweeting once everyday, asking fans to keep donations coming in.
Usher, meanwhile, hasn't been able to cope with the enforced silence, popping back online Sunday, writing on Twitter: “Twit fam, I'm whack for being late, I need your help. Twit,Happy Birthday Rico Love!!! He is the man that wrote you ‘There goes my baby’”.
As celebrities take a backseat to natural disasters and the world cup in the Yahoo's most-searched-for terms this year, it's worth asking whether Keys set the campaign target too high, overestimating the importance of her celebrity mates? Or contrary to what Jay Sean feels, are fans happy to live without “100 per cent access” – noble cause or not?
Either way, this Digital Life Sacrifice has proved an expensive lesson in celebrity marketing.
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