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Bill Gates jumps back into limelight with Web Site and social media

The world's most notorious techie is back.

Bill Gates has blanketed social media over the past two days, launching (or in some cases re-launching) feeds on Twitter and a Facebook page. He's also launched a Web site,, where he ruminates about people he has met, projects he finds interesting and books he is reading. It's a sudden reemergence for the Microsoft co-founder, who has essentially stayed away from the tech spotlight since he retired from the software giant's day-to-day operations more than 18 months ago.

"A lot of people have asked me what I'm working on. It often feels like I'm back at school, as I spend a lot of time learning about issues I'm passionate about," Gates wrote on a welcome page for his Web site. "I take a lot of notes, and often share them and my own thoughts on the subject with others through email . . . I thought it would be interesting to share these conversations more widely with a website, in hope of getting more people thinking and learning about the issues I think are interesting and important. So welcome to Gates Notes."

So far, the public response has been huge. In just one day, @BillGates amassed more than 234,000 followers on Twitter. He's only made a handful of Tweets-- commenting on how people can help with relief in Haiti and replying to actors Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

Already mastering the the micro-blogging platform, he used Twitter to promote the launch of his Web site.

On his aesthetically appealing GatesNotes, he writes a digital notebook of sorts, jotting down ideas and posting pictures on the issues that are on his mind.

Thosxe issues include how to respond to the next pandemic, conversations he's held with middle schoolers in Bangalore, and "important" books on energy (including author Vaclav Smil).

By Cecilia Kang  |  January 20, 2010; 3:12 PM ET
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