Random acts of “cyber-kindness”
“Cyber-kindness” – the quality of being kind to a person one does not know in real life via social media or other forms of electronic communication.
There is so much written and cautioned about the harms of cyber-bullying. Indeed most businesses have social media policies prohibiting this behaviour. (And if they haven’t got one yet they need to write one now!)
On the other hand, there is so much written about the benefits of kindness overall, and random acts of kindness in particular. As much as kindness helps others, it helps us too. Kindness simply brings more light into the world. This is true in real life whether it is kindness towards family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers.
It is true in cyberspace too.
Recently I have been touched by cyber-kindness from a virtual acquaintance who cared (via twitter) about a difficulty I was having. For no other reason, it would seem, than kindness.
How humbling to have someone show they care – someone who I do not know in real life; someone who lives a few time zones behind me; someone who I would never have come into contact with were it not for shared interests in blogging about mental health.
And this cyber-kindness truly lit up a small space of the world that needed more light.
So how else, can I give back, except by performing more acts of cyber-kindness myself – and encouraging others to do the same. Here’s some random acts of cyber-kindness I can think of:
- Say thankyou to people who read, share or comment on your work
- Celebrate and say congratulations to people who share milestones or awards
- Send people useful links that may be helpful for the topic at hand
- Send virtual hugs to those who need it – a simple “I’m sorry you are having a hard time” should do the trick
- Show appreciation to people who host twitter chats – it’s a lot of work
- Be available to support someone via direct messaging if this is appropriate
- Thank people when they share something important to you and explain why
- Comment on people’s blogs and post with encouraging and helpful feedback
- Refrain from negativity – discuss the issue, not the person – especially in political discussion.
Social media is a space for self-expression like no other and lends itself so beautifully to finding opportunities for kindness. The more people practicing cyber-kindness, the more we stand together, the more light there is surrounding the whole world. So let’s use cyberspace only for good.
Please share your creative ideas for random acts of cyber-kindness, I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. All ideas submitted get a virtual gold star!!!