MTV activates Think site for social activism


NEW YORK -- Viacom's MTV is stepping in to the social networking arena with, a community destination focused on youth activism that is set to launch Thursday in beta.

Think was started in large part because of a study the MTV Networks property conducted last year that found that 80% of young people want to actively help their community but only 19% 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 & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goldhirsh Foundation and MCJ Foundation among its founding partners.

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

Rowe also said the MTV brand could add to the site's allure. Select users on the site might be visited by MTV News, mtvU or win tickets to MTV events like the Video Music Awards.

Norman also said the site presents an opportunity for advertisers to highlight a company's socially active campaigns. Rowe pointed to Microsoft Corp. 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 will fully launch by year's end.

Think also is launching with involvement from the United Nations and the Boys and Girls Club as well as contributions from Bono, Jay-Z, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock and other celebrities.