Celebs join 'Smoke Alarm' Twitter plan

When an urgent need is identified, William "Smokey" Robinson will send out a "Smoke Alarm" tweet that will be retweeted to millions.

Story highlights

  • Twitter can be "far more effective" than telethons, Robinson says
  • When an urgent need is identified, Smokey Robinson will send out a "Smoke Alarm"
  • Millions of people should quickly see the call as other celebs retweet, Robinson says
  • Elton John, James Franco, Eva Longoria and Hilary Duff are among first to join his cause
Smokey Robinson wants to use Twitter and Facebook to help solve some of the world's problems, such as the lack of water and food in developing countries.
His "Smoke Alarm" system should be "far more effective" than organizing a telethon or charity concert because it is so much faster than physically getting artists together to raise awareness, Robinson said Thursday.
"In this digital age we have the tools to level the playing field for those in need, so I'm calling on my friends and fans to lend their voices to mine, so we can collectively give voice to those who have none," Robinson said.
The singer and his celebrity friends are linking together to spread the word to hundreds of millions of people quickly when their help is needed.
The idea is simple. When an urgent need is identified, Robinson will send out a "Smoke Alarm" tweet that will be retweeted to the millions of Twitter followers of the celebrities who join his "Cause Swarm" group.
The alarm will be sounded no more than three times year for "shovel ready" projects, according to David Clark, who created the "Cause Swarm" Idea.
"The most effective way to defeat an opponent is to overwhelm or swarm them," Clark said.
Hundreds of millions of people around the world should quickly see the call for donations and other help, Robinson said.
"This way, all you've got to do is use Twitter and get people in who are their fans," Robinson said.
Actors James Franco, Eva Longoria and Hilary Duff, and musicians Elton John, Daryl Hall and Brandy Norwood are already signed up. While they represent a combined 7 million Twitter followers, celebs with much larger followings are expected to join soon, according to his publicist.
"I'm proud to lend my social media feed to Smokey so we can enable as many people as possible to help those in need," Franco said.
Longoria called Robinson "a force of nature."
"I'm proud to stand with him as he breaks new ground in philanthropy like he's done countless times in music," Longoria said. "What makes Smoke Alarm so powerful is the man and heart behind it."
The celebs who join the Smoke Alarm feed will also post the alerts on their Facebook pages.
Robinson announced his plan at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France Thursday. The first Smoke Alarm will be sent out near the end of this year, most likely targeted at helping raise money to bring clean water to communities in need, he said.