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Melinda Gates

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates joined Twitter in January 2010, and has quickly assembled an audience of some 3.5 million followers.

Now, Gates’ wife, Melinda, is joining the short-form communication channel. And — thanks to to a Tweet from her hubbie — she’s already attracted some 17,450 followers even though she’s just posted four Tweets to date.

In a blog post titled “Why Twitter, Why Now?”, Melinda Gates writes that her work at the foundation has taken on a new sense of urgency.

“There is not a moment to waste when millions of people’s lives and futures are at stake. This impatience is why I’m happy to be joining Twitter officially today as @melindagates. After all, what’s more impatient than a tweet?

People are always asking me how they can help, even if they don’t have the support of a foundation behind them. The first thing I tell them is to change their mindset.

Most people associate philanthropy with great wealth. In my mind, philanthropy is not about the money. It’s about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world. If you are passionate about helping humanity, then you can get creative about the ways to do so.

Twitter is an example of this—it is the type of vehicle that allows you to share stories of impact in an instant.  I’ll be using Twitter to pass along stories that inspire me.

Guess she couldn’t boil that down to 14o characters.

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