How ‘Ecce Homo’ Could Prove Twitter’s Worth as a Direct Sales Channel

T-shirt sale shows Chirpify potential

We're all about the Ecce Homo today. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about how the ruined Spanish painting of Christ may lead to yet another unintended consequence—that of exposing people to the potential of Twitter as a direct sales channel to their followers. What happened was: Punk cabaret star Amanda Palmer (above)—whom we last wrote about when she wrote a hate song to her record label—began to believe that the amateur restorer's work was not in fact a disaster but a valuable (if unintended) artistic act in itself. So, she came up with T-shirts showing the "after" version of Ecce Homo and the line "Stop pretending art is hard." Palmer also happens to be one of the early users of Chirpify, a mobile-payments startup that launched in April. Palmer informed her more than 600,000 Twitter followers that they could buy the shirt (for $20) simply by @replying with the word "buy." Hundreds did, and Palmer eventually sold more than $5,000 worth of shirts—Chirpify's largest sale so far. (The company took a 4 percent cut.) The WSJ story has more on the reaction from Palmer's followers—some liked the Chirpify avenue for buying, others didn't. But the 4-month-old company, based in Portland, Ore., is no doubt praising simian Jesus for a case study that seems heaven sent.