Most people by now know what Web 2.0 is. But for those of you who might not, here is a quick definition via Wikipedia:

“Web 2.0” refers to what was perceived as a second generation of web development and web design. It is characterised as facilitating communication, information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. It has led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and web applications. Examples include social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs and folksonomies.

The term “Web 2.0” was coined by Darcy DiNucci in 1999. In her article “Fragmented Future.”

So, essentially, this blog…Facebook…Twitter…all of them are part of Web 2.0. Of course, I don’t claim to be an expert in such things but, if you break the definition down, those would seem to be just a couple basic examples of what Web 2.0 is. And, while everybody and their mother seems to have a blog and/or a Facebook account, nobody seems to be quite sure exactly what purpose Twitter can serve in the Web 2.0 world. Messaging system? Micro-Blogging?? Mundane reports on the users day to day life??? How about using it as a tool to raise awareness or funds for a good cause?

Think about it; if you have a good cause that might otherwise slide under the radar you can hit the Twitterverse and get your message out directly to people a lot quicker than other mediums. With the prominence of Twitter users getting their updates directly to their cell phones Twitter can seemingly provide a way to get your info out to people much faster than Blogs or Facebook in most cases. Of course, for your message to be effective you have to be getting it to the largest audience possible. Thankfully, Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) has such an audience and showed that, yes, Twitter CAN be an effective tool to raise awareness/funds for a good cause.
From Paste Magazine’s website;

...in part thanks to Reznor’s Twitter presence and the letter he posted on the NIN website, the results of his fundraising were pretty astounding, collecting over $260,000 in one day. The total is still climbing, past $645,000…

it’s also worth pointing out that because of Reznor’s help those fundraising numbers were pulled in a WEEK.