MTV’s newly launched online community, billing itself as “social networking with a social conscience,” is set to have an activist edge, allowing users to connect and rally around causes such as climate change and HIV/AIDS. The site, ThinkMTV, is the first venture in parent company Viacom’s new Flux social-networking project.

Beta testing for ThinkMTV, which began today, will allow users to socialize and rally for various causes. The site’s “Founding Partners” for the launch include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Case Foundation, with celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono and John Mayer expected to participate in some capacity in the future.

In the coming months, the site will feature “Action Badges,” which users can earn through actions such as volunteering and donating blood. ThinkMTV will also work in conjunction with MTV activism campaigns and is positioning itself to be a major tool in the 2008 presidential elections.