MTV Preps Site for Social Activism

NEW YORK Viacom’s MTV is stepping into the social networking arena with Think.MTV.com, a community destination focused on youth activism that is set to launch today in beta.

Think was started in large part because of a study the MTV Networks property conducted last year that found 80 percent of young people want to actively help their community but only 19 percent are “very involved.” To that end, the site will feature blogs, videos, profiles, podcasts and other features relating to socially conscious causes.

Think counts the Case Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldhirsh Foundation and MCJ Foundation among its founding partners.

MTV president Christina Norman said the activism angle would differentiate it from MySpace and Facebook. Ian Rowe, vp, public affairs and strategic partnerships at MTV, said he hopes the site would “complement” the social networking giants and that any content created on Think will be able to migrate throughout the Internet.

Norman also said the site presents an opportunity for advertisers to highlight a company’s socially active campaigns. Rowe pointed to Microsoft as one of the first companies to take advantage.

“This is a great platform for those kinds of marketers to let their audiences know where they are making a difference,” Norman said.

The site will be promoted mainly on MTV and on other MTVN channels, including VH1, when they feature shows on relevant issues.

Rowe said the site would fully launch by year’s end. Think also is launching with involvement from the United Nations and the Boys and Girls Clubs as well as contributions from Bono, Jay-Z, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock and other celebrities.