First Tweeting, Bill Gates Now Gets His Own Site

On Tuesday, Bill Gates began tweeting. A day later, he launched his own personal Web site.

But what does the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) as well as the richest person on earth have to say?

Titled The Gates Notes, the site dwells on topics that Bill Gates, philanthropist, spends his time thinking and learning about. He and his wife, after all, head the world’s best endowed charity organization — the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Since leaving my full-time job at Microsoft to dedicate more time to our foundation, a lot of people have asked me what I’m working on. It often feels like I’m back in school, as I spend a lot of my time learning about issues I’m passionate about,” Gates said in a “welcome” note on the new site.

Gates launched his own Twitter account on Tuesday, and his initial tweets were about the situation in Haiti.

His Twitter account was immediately mobbed and, by Wednesday afternoon, Gates had garnered nearly 250,000 Twitter followers.

Gates left his full-time position at Microsoft as chief software architect at the end of June 2008, and since that time has worked full-time at the Gates Foundation. As the company’s largest stockholder, he remains Microsoft’s chairman.

Since then, he has worked to promote ways to eliminate malaria and other tropical diseases in developing nations as well as increasing teaching excellence.

In one dramatic demonstration meant to capture his audience’s attention regarding the debilitating nature of mosquito-borne diseases, Gates let loose a jar of mosquitoes during his keynote speech at a conference last February. His spokesperson said later the bugs were all disease-free, but he made his point.

While the Haiti earthquake and its aftermath have been the focus of Gates tweeting so far, the Web site has a larger goal — one that complements the foundation’s aims.

“Every January, Bill writes an Annual Letter, which includes his thoughts on the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and progress it is making toward achieving its goals. Interest in the 2009 Annual Letter was one reason Bill decided to create the Gates Notes Web site,” said a post on the site Wednesday.

Other posts on the site so far are varied, including discussions of sustainable energy, education reform, health care for the global poor, the H1N1 flu and, of course, Haiti relief.

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

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