There have been some lovely stories in the news of late, of students who have set out to make the lives of children who are bullied or just lack confidence so much better. They are using twitter to help build on their strengths. High school captain Kevin Curwick anonymously “tweeted” kindness to students who were being bullied, and then came the story of Jerimiah Antony from Iowa who created a “compliment campaign”. So far they have sent out more than 3,000 compliments to students of West High, Iowa.
Feedback from students at West High is heartwarming and delightful. They speak of the benefits such as a great sense of community and a real positive vibe at the school.
Jerimiah doesn’t just send out tweets to those who are vulnerable. According to an article by Nadine Kalinauskas, Jerimiah stated “We just send compliments to people who we think are feeling bad a certain day or who have done something really good, like winning a state title. I believe that showing the goodness in people is very integral to our account, because so many people on Twitter and Facebook get cyberbullied because they’re less than perfect.” (you can read the original article here)
What a lovely gesture!
I was surprised to find that even with such a feel good story, there were some negative comments. One stated that they were still “hiding behind a screen” – however given that the students know where the compliments are coming from personally I don’t think that holds true. Another alluded to students being “sissies” ? Really? Here you have young students prepared to stand up against bullies and exercise positive action and somehow they are sissies?
Well I think it is wonderful and it inspired me to want to share the love. So i say YES TO REVERSE BULLYING! Give someone a compliment and watch them smile. Make it from the heart, but something simple. Perhaps it is something you are thinking, but would normally not say out aloud. For example a beautifully dressed woman walked past me the other day, a total stranger and she was wearing really stunning shoes. So I told her how lovely she looked and how beautiful the shoes were. She looked surprised, but delighted and we both walked off with a smile on our face. In this day and age we so often here someone say something negative out loud, such as “don’t push in” or a nasty comment about poor fashion sense, but rarely do we hear someone say the good things out loud. Don’t just do it in the street, do it on the net! We can share a positive personal message so easily.
I vote we try spreading some love, so I attach my “with love” image and hope that you might just share it, and when you do – share a compliment to the person’s whose page you share it on. Don’t spam people with it please, be genuine, and be respectful. Make it something your granny would be proud of hearing you say!
Happy reverese bullying!
Fiona Lucas is the founder of iRespectOnline. She is passionate about helping small businesses to grow, thrive and build reputation online. Fiona is an ethical marketer providing bespoke online marketing strategies to enable businesses to leverage social media for growth. Underpinning everything she does, as Australia’s first online reputation evangelist she is passionate about driving social change towards a more respectful online environment.
She was named in Mamamia’s Top 50 women to watch online 2013, Finalist Geelong Small Business Awards 2017 – Social Media Influencer and is a virtual community manager for Social Media Marketing World. Fiona presents on digital futures, cybersafety and digital marketing.
Fiona is the author of Futureproof Your Kids – a parents guide to the social media playground.