Wonder if others feel the same way? If you go back in your memory for about 10 years ago you would remember the world was a much kinder place. People seemed to see each other more – poking and chatting on Facebook don’t count. More importantly, you would always find people helping each other out.
Not to sound like my parents, and to control the amount of selective memory enhancements that I apply, I hit the web looking for examples of how kindness changed with the advent of the web. One of the first things I came by was a wonderful talk (embedded at the end of this post) that was both inspiring and amusing. From there, I kept on looking for how the web helped to make the world a better place – one person at time.
My findings give the impression that, if anything, the internet enabled many acts of kindness to occur. According to some, the whole internet could collapse if it weren’t for those acts of kindness. So here are some places on the net where kindness is alive, well and plentiful!
1. Free Rice
Feel good about yourself and have fun at the same time. This website will make donations of rice in partnership with the WFP for every word you guess correctly. Not much can be said about this site other than it’s all around awesome. [link to Free Rice]
2. Couch Surfing
What is more heart warming than opening up your home to a total stranger and allowing them to stay over without any expectation for anything in return but kindness? I know the concept sounds almost creepy, who in this day and age, allows a hitchhiker into his car never mind his home? Nonetheless the concept works brilliantly and there are plenty of happy people because of it! [link to Couch Surfing]
3. Random Acts of Kindness
Part of the World Kindness Movement. The idea is to inspire other people to be kind to each other and to lead by example. The site is a resource for materials and ideas on how to be kind to your fellow humans, and how to pass on that message to your students, partners, faith group and so on. And if the self satisfaction that kindness provides is not enough for you, you can share your random act of kindness too. Remember to mark November 13th on your calendars! [link to Random Acts of Kindness]
4. Network for Good
The biggest on-line fund-raising site helping other nonprofits to raise money and communicate with supporters and organizers. You can call it good and effective social networking and it definitely helped change the way funds are raised. [link to Network for Good]
What’s more powerful than information? Free information but of course ! The impact that Wikipedia had on how information is accessed can not be understated and no one is more thankful than high school and university students! The fact that a bunch of people that would come together to create, update and maintain an entire encyclopedia – for free- is a testament that there is a lot of kindness to go around in the world. [link to Wikipedia]
Here is a video of Jonathan Zittrain talking about how the web is just a series of random acts of kindness; a really interesting video (about 20 min). This was actually were I got the inspiration for this post, and as a matter of fact I think TED is one of the kindest places on the web since it allows a lot of people like me to get inspired and motivated through watching any of their many presentations that provide great insights into humanity and our world at large…
After watching the video, what do you think? Do you think the internet and social networks will allow people to express their kindness more often? What role do we have in propagating the wave of kindness around the world? Is joining a “feel good group” on Facebook enough to count as an act of kindness? Where do we draw the line?