Making a difference online
There are wonderful ways to spread kindness and make a difference in the lives your family members, friends and those in your community. In fact, last month we encouraged you to join us in a 30 Days of Kindness Challenge by presenting 30 simple ways for you and your family members to make a difference every day in September. But there are ways to take that urge to change the world and make it a truly global effort without even having to leave home.
Chances are you spend a fair bit of time using the Internet every day. Did you know that there are countless ways to put that screen time to good use by supporting organizations and causes dear to you, and by spreading kindness every chance you get?
Here some ways to make a difference online:
- Fight intolerance. While we don’t recommend getting into arguments with anonymous strangers online, what you can do is step in when you see people within your circle of friends speaking angry words. If someone is saying unkind things about a mutual friend, step in and say something good about the person being maligned and try to turn the conversation around. If someone has just posted a racist, sexist or otherwise offensive joke or meme, let them know that this sort of thing is just not okay because it is hurtful and propagates negative stereotypes that harm others. Bring light to the darker corners of your social media community.
- Boost someone up. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow us to connect to others in an online space that their other followers can also see. Give someone a genuine compliment, but don’t hide it in a private message – say it right out loud on their Facebook wall, in an Instagram post, or in a tweet.
- Spread the word. If you know of a fantastic organization that’s doing good things in your community or around the world, share their Facebook page or a link to their website and encourage like-minded friends to check them out. Organizations that depend upon donations and volunteers need all the free advertising they can get! Liking and following them on social media is another great way to give them the exposure they may need.
- Use your talents. You might be able to put your writing, graphic design, accounting, web building, data input, or translations skills to use by doing online volunteer work with a charitable organization that’s looking for someone with your talents. Contact your favorite charity – especially small, grassroots charities that may not have a big following or a lot of resources – and see if there’s anything you can do to help.
- Be an advocate. If you’re passionate about a cause, start a letter writing campaign by contacting government officials via email. Find the right person to contact by visiting government or municipal websites. For tips on how to write an effective letter to a government official, check out Climate Council.
- Share your knowledge. We are all experts in something, but knowledge dies if it isn’t shared, so make your voice heard and teach others what you know. Start a blog or a vlog (a video blog) to share your wisdom. Maybe it’s how to make the perfect loaf of artisan bread, been-there-done-that homeschooling tips, how to knit socks, the basics of digital photography, or growing your own vegetables. Wherever your expertise lies, know that your wisdom can change someone else’s life for the better.
- Be kind. It might sound obvious, but when you’re interacting with friends and strangers alike on social media, always err on the side of kindness. Take a moment to re-read comments you’ve written – especially if you may have written them hastily and in anger – and determine if your words will help or hinder the conversation you’re having. One good question to ask yourself is, “Would I still say this if the person I’m interacting with was standing in right front of me?”
If you are able, making online donations to your favorite charities is also a great way to ensure that they can continue doing good work around the world. But as we’ve demonstrated, making a difference online doesn’t have to cost you a cent, and the impact of your good deeds and the effort you’ve made can be priceless.
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