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Tweet It Forward: Cary Chessick & The Social Giving Movement

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Uploaded on Jun 14, 2011

Restaurant.com CEO Cary Chessick gave away $20,000 in cash to 40 random attendees at a social media conference. Chessick's celebration, called TweetItForward, was unveiled during Internet Week New York at the inaugural Likeable U: The Social Media Movement, attended by thought leaders and industry experts. He shared his experiences about the value in the gift of giving before each randomly chosen guest was presented $500.

The concept of "pay it forward" is rooted in the idea of helping others without expectation of anything in return, and Chessick's celebration is the social media version. He and his wife donated personal money for the giving effort.

"I've been fortunate to experience the gift of giving," said Chessick. "It's my belief that a simple act of giving can change a life, alter a person's path and create new social connections. It can bring together friends and family in a way that is unique, and ultimately increase happiness in both the giver and the gift recipient."

Chessick passed out envelopes to 40 unsuspecting attendees at the conference. The envelopes contained one $100 bill, four $50 bills, five $20 bills and ten $10 bills for a total of $500 per attendee.

Chessick's surprise $20,000 gift to 40 people was without any ground rules or restrictions. His message to the conference attendees dealt only with achieving happiness and impacting the lives of others in a positive way. The fortunate 40 were thrilled with the unexpected gift and all the possibilities.

The announcement ignited social media chatter as recipients began sharing stories of giving and gratitude on social media networks using text, images and video. They tweeted with the hashtag #tweetitforward on Twitter, visited www.tweetitforward.org and posted messages, and joined the Facebook group Tweet It Forward to share and connect with others celebrating the gift of giving.

Tweet It Forward is a cousin of Chessicks' brainchild, Feed It Forward, the online giving initiative that allows consumers to give free Restaurant.com gift certificates between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since 2008, the Restaurant.com community has given away $32 million in gift certificates to family, friends and strangers through random acts of kindness.

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