90 Days to Ellen is a 90-day experiment to see if two guys using social media can get lunch with Ellen DeGeneres to help fight hunger in America.

It all started over dinner.

Friends, introduced via Twitter, finally got together for their first face-to-face meal at Thai Spice in Willow Glen, California. Totally not creepy – they did consider each other friends before they met in person, because of the interaction they already had online. They shared content. Links. Opinions. Tweets. Retweets. Facebooking. LinkedIn. You get it.

The conversation flowed from topic to topic like the wine at the table. Family, work, silly stories, Hollywood. Celebrities. “Who would you be friends with in Hollywood if you could?” Matt Damon. Penny Marshall. Angelina Jolie (really…). Donald Sutherland. And then to what we all cared about. Family, food, laughter, and making friends. Making a difference in this world, and leaving it a better place than we found it (yes, a few of us were Scouts.) More food. And then right back around to what brought us together in the first place… social media.

It became clear that not everyone at dinner that night believed in the power of social media:

CAMP #1: Believed in the power of social media to forge real relationships with people who would be willing to help you make a difference.
CAMP #2: Believed social doesn’t create real relationships with people who would be willing to help you make a difference.

“You can absolutely use social to reach anyone and do some good in the world! It’s really that powerful. ”
“The friendships you make on social are not real friends, there’s no way they can be. They won’t help you do anything.”

The gauntlet had been thrown. “Would it actually be possible to reach someone everyone knew, who was so approachable yet so unreachable, using the power of social media in order to do some good for the world?”

The experiment was born.

*The Good in the World: Fighting hunger in America.

*The Time Frame? 90 days

*The Lunch Guest? Ellen DeGeneres (for her great sense of humor, kindness, generosity, and complete celebrity unattainability)

*The Lunch Host? Whichever restaurant donates the most money to Feeding America® on behalf of #90DaystoEllen

*The End Game? Lunch with Ellen and a lot of money raised for charity

Our hypothesis: Social media can be used to create real friendships and make a powerful difference in the world.

It is very possible we will #epicfail. But we want to prove our hypothesis badly. Like, really badly. Either way, we’ll write about it, tweet the journey and take you along for the ride.

We hope you’ll help us by sharing. And now… let the countdown begin! Game on.

Looking forward to lunch,
DJ and Bryan

Here are the dinner guests that night:

*DJ: He’s a rockstar email marketing guy with a podcast called “The Work Talk Show” on the side.
*DJ is married to Kristina, an obstetrician in Palo Alto, who does not do social media at all (the naysayer).
*Jackie: Techy geeky mom with purple hair who lives in social media.
*Bryan: Funny, social media guy (Eagle Scout, speaker, blogger and president of a marketing firm in San Jose) who also loves food and Gaylord Focker.
*Courtney is married to Bryan and is a writer, satirist and creative director/co-founder of said marketing firm with Bryan.
*Ellen: Super famous talk show host and comedian, super funny and if you really don’t know who she is there is something seriously wrong with you.