Bill Gates Goes Social

Bill Gates needs no introduction. In 2008 he stepped down from his day-to-day duties at software giant Microsoft. Since then his full-time focus has been on his charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (which is based in Seattle, Washington in the United States). This foudation aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty in the world and to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in the United States.

Bill Gates has been criticized for being late to the Web 2.0 Party. He’s also been criticized for ignoring new technologies such as a comment system and RSS feeds. The mouths of those critics will be shut now though. Bill Gates created a Fan Page on Facebook and joined the micro-blogging service Twitter 2 days ago. Even though he’s only posted 9 tweets via Twitter he’s managed to gain more than 250,000 followers (264,375 last time we checked) and more than 60,000 fans on Facebook (60,221 last time we checked) in those 2 days. This is truly remarkable. His first tweet on Twitter read “”Hello World” Hard at work on my foundation letter – publishing 1/25.” and was posted just before midnight (South African time) on the 19th of January 2010. He’s also posted Thank You notes to actor Ashton Kusher (who has more than 4 million followers on Twitter) and American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest. Bill Gates is only following 40 people on Twitter. Various philanthropic and social organisations, journalists, Microsoft, US President Barack H. Obama and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar make up the list. He’s also published photos of his travels to India and Africa on his Facebook page. His Facebook page compliments his new websiteThe Gates Notes which has sections entitled “what i’m thinking about”, “what i’m learning”, “my travels”, “curious classroom” and “conversations”. Topics such as the Haiti crisis, the H1N1 flu virus, climate change, global health programs and global hunger are covered on The Gates Notes.

It’s nice to see him finally getting onto the proverbial Social Networking Horse. Bill Gates actually quit using the Facebook website in 2009 since he was getting too much friend requests and had trouble determining who were his friends and who were strangers. At this time he told a business forum in India “It was just way too much trouble so I gave it up”. It seems that he’s ready to deal with that problem now. At least now anyone can be become a fan of Bill Gates on his Facebook fan page or follow him via him on Twitter.

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Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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