Sounding the “Smoke Alarm” for a Good Cause

It’s amazing when you realize how, in just the last half-decade alone, modern technology and social media have made it possible to spread the word about various causes. With the click of a button, you can “like” a status or “retweet” a comment and show that you, too, care about seeing the less fortunate get the resources they need. Meanwhile, a quick text message allows you to donate to organizations like the American Red Cross, and aid victims of disasters like the Haiti earthquake or Japanese tsunami. In addition, crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter make it possible to raise money for personal projects.

Celebrities helping others is hardly a new concept. For years, Jerry Lewis graced our screens every Labor Day with his MDA telethon, while U2 frontman Bono and daytime TV queen Oprah have pledged their time and support towards numerous worldwide efforts. Facebook and Twitter have also made it easier for celebs to not only converse with their fans, but also get the word out.

Now, Motown singer Smokey Robinson is taking to social media, and getting a little help from his friends. Robinson has set up the “Smoke Alarm” system, described as “A new way to donate your voice to causes that have none.” Robinson considers it a “digital emergency broadcast network” that can immediately reach millions around the world.

Smokey RobinsonSo how does it work? According to Robinson, if someone needs help with his or her project, Smokey will post a “Smoke Alarm” on Twitter, which goes out to his celebrity followers. Those celebs include Eva Longoria, Elton John, and Brandy, all of whom will in turn repost the message to their millions of followers. From there, the word will continue to spread from one person to another. It’s almost like that Heather Locklear commercial from the ‘80s: “[They’ll] tell two friends, then [they’ll] tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on!”

Smokey’s philanthropy is just the latest celebrity activism effort, as well as another example of how social media is bridging the communication gap and allowing everyone to make their voices – or alarms – heard.

And for the younger readers who may not get it, here’s the Heather Locklear commercial for full reference.