Every day I get between 5 and 15 tweets from people asking me to help publicise their charitable endeavours.
Sometimes they're from organisations and sometimes they're from individuals who are doing a sponsored walk/run/swim/bike ride/all-of-the-above for a cause that's dear to their hearts because of something that has happened to them or to a loved one.
Retweeting their cause to my followers would take next to no effort... so why don't I do so?
Well, if I was to retweet one request the only fair thing would be to retweet them all. To not do so would involve making a value judgement about one cause over another and that would be impossible to do properly without spending a silly amount of time evaluating them all and checking that every link was valid and for a cause I truly supported.
On top of that, I know from experience that when I do tweet a link to a charitable cause I then receive another 20 requests for other causes almost immediately. If I received only 5 requests in a day but retweeted them all I would soon be multiplied to 100 tweets. Tweeting loads and loads of charities isn't loads and loads better than tweeting one. It's worse. It turns them into an impenetrable mush. Nobody would go through them all. Nobody would be able to choose one or more from the pack. It would do none of them any good whatsoever.
I'm not the first person to wrestle with this conundrum - Stephen Fry had this to say and shortly afterwards Graham Linehan tipped his hat in Mr Fry's direction saying the following. It appeared they'd come to a sensible way around the problem but as far as I'm aware neither of them has been able to maintain such a scheme so I can only conclude that it didn't really work.
It seems to me that to be of any value to a charity, tweets of this nature need to be used sparingly. Tweeted occasionally they can have an impact. Tweet all of them all the time and they just become wallpaper. So, with apologies to everyone who feels let down, I'm afraid I'm only going to tweet good causes that I feel compelled to do so for my own reasons. Anything else would, I'm afraid, be either grossly unfair to some or useless to all.
Now, do go and donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee for the Pakistan floods. In the UK you can donate £5 by texting GIVE to 70707. Or you can donate via their website http://www.dec.org.uk/ or by calling 0370 60 90 900.