by Kristen Nicole

Talk about social media really becoming a catalyst for the Haiti relief efforts. Zynga, the social gaming developer, is running a special relief campaign in three of its games, letting users purchase items as a way of raising funds. Certain limited edition social goods can be bought directly in the game, and 100% of the proceeds are being used for emergency aid in Haiti.

The participating games are some of Zynga’s most popular, including FarmVille, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker. Zynga is sending the proceeds to the World Food Programme, which already has a team distributing food and relief items to those affected by Haiti’s earthquake. The limited items include white corn in FarmVille, a Haitian drum in Mafia Wars, and a special chip package in Zynga Poker.

Already, Zynga reports having raised $1.2 million for Haiti through virtual social goods, from campaigns to fund Haitian school programs and revolving loan programs for Haitian women. With these, Zynga has taken on a social responsibility that is driven through the exchange of virtual goods, which could be a rather unique but effective method moving forward.

With social media having been an extremely effective way of spreading the news of Haiti to the world, it has also provided avenues through which people can rally together towards helping the Haiti people. From social networking pages, mobile apps and social network apps such as Zynga’s games, it’s clear that social media has an incredible power to make a large impact for a worthy cause.

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