Season's Tweetings: The Great Twitter Secret Santa

VIDEO: Tweeting for Charity
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For most of the year, Twitter buddies share breaking news headlines, techie banter, maybe a crazy cat video or two. But for the holidays, Regan Meador wants them to exchange something else: Gifts.

Hoping to add a high-tech twist to a tried-and-true holiday tradition, the 31-year-old New Yorker got together with a few friends to start "The Great Twitter Secret Santa."

The social experiment, which launched for the first time this month, pairs up Twitter users who follow each other for a real-life gift exchange.

"We just wanted to play with it a little bit and see how we could take those relationships that people make in this place, which are generally very loose, and take them into a more personal level of exchanging an actual thing or making a charitable donation," said Meador, who works in marketing as a digital strategist when he isn't spreading online holiday cheer.

Twitter Users in More Than 40 Countries Join Secret Santa Exchange

To sign up, Twitter users just filled out an online form that asked for contact information and personal preferences (for example, their favorite color and favorite childhood gift). Then a piece of code created by one of the founders matched the would-be Santas with others in their Twitter network.

After registration closed Monday, the organizers sent participants the names of their matches and let the gift-giving begin. Meador said they launched the project with just a few tweets but it grew organically to encompass thousands of people in more than 40 countries.

"It's been amazing to see how people grab on to something and see how messages spread," he said.

Meador said he was encouraged to see that many participants were more interested in having their Secret Santa donate to charity in their name than give them an actual present.

So he and his co-founders decided to expand the Internet-enabled Secret Santa effort to Facebook.

Earlier this week, they launched The Great Secret Santa, a gift exchange between friends on Facebook. But instead of gifting tangible goods, everyone gives to charity.

The Great Secret Santa Matches Facebook Friends for Gift-Giving

While the founders acknowledge that there are many non-profits that need support, they chose four groups that represent different important causes: The Millennium Promise (which fights poverty), the American Cancer Society, the Environmental Defense Fund and the ASPCA.

Before registration closes on Dec. 21, Meador said he hopes at least 10,000 people sign up. If everyone donates at least $10 to a charity, the project could bring $100,000 to its four chosen causes.

"We were impressed by people's penchant to want to give back to the community and decided to build something off The Great Twitter Secret Santa," he said. "It's a bit ambitious, we know. But why not go big this holiday?"

ABC News' Jordan Zolan contributed to this report.

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