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Music Biz, Hollywood Tweet and Text to Help Haiti

Thursday, 14 Jan 2010 | 3:57 PM ET
A Haitian woman in Port-au-Prince
Thony Belizaire | AFP | Getty Images
A Haitian woman in Port-au-Prince

Celebrities are tapping into the power of social media to drive donations to help the three million people in Haiti that are desperately in need of aid.

Twitter has been a huge force in helping those who want information and who want to help those in need and mobile carriers' texting technology has engaged huge numbers of people to make small donations.

Haiti native Wyclef Jean tweetedabout his concern for earthquake victims and helped set up the Haiti Earthquake Fund, which allows anyone to easily donate $5 with a quick text message. There are a number of texting codes you can send to the Red Crossand other organizations to get a donation added to your mobile bill. Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-mobile are doing a great service here.

The fact that mobile phone users can send a quick text message from their phone to get a donation added on to their cell phone bill, revolutionizes the philanthropic process. And donating through a text message allows people to easily share news of their donation with their friends, encouraging them to also spend a few bucks. Just as the Obama campaign managed to use Facebook and Twitter to get many people to make small donations, I think we'll see the same trend here, and I think it'll make a remarkable difference.

Facebook is also trying to help by launching last night the Global Relief page —Facebook.com/GlobalRelief — which is updating 'fans' with details on Haiti relief. Facebook users can donate through "Facebook Causes" pages; American Red Cross, Oxfam and Partners in Healthall are reaching out to supporters through their Facebook pages.

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Other celebrities are leading by example: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders. With the Golden Globescoming up on Sunday on NBC, we can be sure that plenty of celebrities will be encouraging viewers to donate money.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.