Friday, May. 29, 2009

Charity Begins Online

Philanthropy as a business use of Twitter will involve social activism and fundraising. Tea parties, whether held in public or in cyberspace, can be set up by getting Twitter users to follow certain political groups and causes. Twitter will be an immensely useful way for people to voice their opinions in response to public-opinion polls. This offers an opportunity to access tens of thousands of reactions to critical questions in a very short period of time. (Read tweets from the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.)

The Twitpay aspect of Twitter will become essential to fundraising, as people can make donations to a cause while they are in the middle of a march for that cause. And if social or political groups on Twitter want the government to get a feel for the power of their movements, they can encourage government agencies, Congress or the White House to follow them as they collect money and work to effect social change.

The Internet and the major products set up to use it are changing at a remarkable speed, permanently altering the way we live. Twitter could have as large a role in this transformation as Google and Facebook have had in the past decade.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Watch TIME's video "Graffiti for Hire in the West Bank."

See the top 10 unfortunate political one-liners.