RealTime IT News

Bill Gates a Fast-Rising Star on Twitter

Microsoft co-founder and chairman signed onto Twitter for the first time Tuesday, and immediately began racking up followers -- just in the first few hours he had already accumulated more than 70,000 followers and appeared to be picking up as many as 1,000 new followers every few seconds.

His Twitter address is @BillGates. But is it real and not a fake?

Despite the fact that there have been many celebrities spoofed by tweeters pretending to be them, this account bears Twitter's "Verified Account" check box logo.

Additionally, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Bill Gates' tweets are bona fide.

"We confirm that those tweets are from Bill Gates," the spokesperson said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

Gates' apparent immediate goal is to encourage Twitter users to contribute to relief efforts for Haiti. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has its own Twitter Account (@gatesfoundation) with more than 350,000 followers, is focused on charity in the developing world.

One of Gate's first tweets was to thank Ryan Seacrest, who helped out Larry King with the emcee duties during a CNN sponsored special on Monday to raise money for earthquake victims.

"[T]hanks for your work on this, it will have a real impact for the people in Haiti who need it most," Gates tweet said. Seacrest responded with a Welcome to Twitter message.

King, himself, is a twitterer and last year had a contest with actor Ashton Kutcher over who could get to 1 million followers first. Kutcher won that round and established a world record.

Gate's first tweet included the old programmer's greeting "hello world."

"Hello World." Hard at work on my foundation letter - publishing on 1/25."

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.