Alicia Keys co-founded a campaign in December 2010 to raise funds for fighting HIV in Africa and India. The title: "Digital Death - Keep A Child Alive". The rules of the game: Alicia Keys and other artists "kill" their online presence, their fans donate funds for treating HIV positive children in India and Africa in order to "bring them back to life", and once the donations reach the goal of one million dollars, the celebrities are "resurrected" and go back online.
While the participants were digitally "dead", they didn't update their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and their fans were left without the flowing updates they're so used to having. The fans were also invited to take part, by "sacrificing themselves" and "killing" their online personas, in order to help raise further funds.
Instructions about how to make the "ultimate digital sacrifice" can be found here, and the pictures of the artists who chose to "die" in this campaign - among them Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Lenny Kravitz, Serena Williams, Elijah Wood, Kimberly Cole and David LaChapelle - can be found here.
The pictures which formed this campaign are indeed troubling and eye-catching:
It worked: in 6 days more than $1,000,000 worth of donations were raised.
Lady Gaga couldn't miss out on an opportunity to wear a costume, so she went shopping dressed as a corpse, with makeup to match, during her digital deathness period. You can read about it in the Daily Mail Online here.
Further details about this campaign can be found in the press release.
Although it clearly wasn't what the campaign was about, I hope it helped raise awareness to digital death in general: if we realize that others - and ourselves - have digital personas which are important and meaningful to us, so much so that we're willing to spend money to keep it "alive", perhaps we will also realize it's important to manage it.
And if I take this line of thought one step further: perhaps such a campaign can be used in order to raise awareness to the subject.