A new donation platform helps people turn a moment of rage into charitable giving, simply by replying to an infuriating tweet.
Trigger, an amazingly passive-aggressive Twitter-based app, lets you react to hostile social media posts in a positive, productive way. Creator Isaac Alfton said the app provides social media users with a sort of agency whenever they're "triggered" online.
The company calls it "retaliatory giving," inspired by Alfton's own frustrations with his feed as it overflowed with offensive and angering posts. After seeing so many 140-character social and political hot takes, he wished there were an easy way to give to charity as a spiteful response.
"The world of donations to nonprofits is kind of sunshine and unicorns — and sometimes you don't feel like that."
"That way, the person would know 100 percent that what they said caused a donation, and that would probably anger them even more," he said.
So Alfton, who has a background in ecommerce startups, started to build it himself — and he rushed to complete the tool after the 2016 U.S. election drastically shifted the political climate in America.
To use Trigger, you simply need to reply to a tweet with a dollar amount, the handle of a U.S. nonprofit and the hashtag #TriggerGive.
To add a bit of insult to the giving, you can also add a regular reply, making sure the response really gets your message across.
"It's a really empowering tool," Alfton said. "It's simple, and it also engages other people and raises awareness of wherever you are donating to."
"The world of donations to nonprofits is kind of sunshine and unicorns — and sometimes you don't feel like that," he said. "You get triggered, and you're pissed off. That's where we come in."
As soon as you send your retaliatory tweet, Trigger will start processing your donation. But what happens if you get a little too generous in the heat of the moment? Or what if your finger twitches on the "0" key, turning your $10 donation into a $100 donation? Don't worry — you can edit donations for up to 24 hours by contacting the Trigger team.
Users need to create an account through Trigger, which logs their Twitter handle and credit card. To operate efficiently and seamlessly, Trigger stores the credit card information of users to facilitate donations. Alfton said security is a top priority for the startup, with security compared to ordering from Amazon and paying with Paypal.
"Why not make something positive out of your anger?"
"You have to get it right," Alfton said regarding site security. "With people's information and online payments, you get one shot."
A drawback of the service is a monthly service fee of $1.59, which funds Trigger's servers — even if you don't use it during a given month. The company uses PayPal to process donations, which takes 30 cents plus 2.9 percent. Trigger, however, never takes any portion of the donation you send.
To receive donations, Trigger allows nonprofits to sign up, or prompts them to do so when they receive their first donation. Then, the service simply delivers collected donations to a verified nonprofit every seven days, with no further engagement required. Currently, any verified U.S. nonprofit with a Twitter account — tax-exempt or not — can receive donations through Trigger.
Aside from those restrictions, where you send your money in social media-induced anger is up to you.
"I don't feel right telling anyone where to send their money," Alfton said. "It's your money. It's your right. It's your anger. It's your donation — so it's up to you."
However, being "triggered," Alfton stressed, doesn't always have to be negative. He said users can also give when they're positively inspired by a tweet.
Trigger's mission to transform anger into social good may be especially welcomed in 2017.
"Sometimes you're angry after reading these posts and want to donate — and that's OK," Alfton says. "Why not make something positive out of your anger?"