Social Media Column: Kindness to be found on social media

Published in the July 31, 2012 issue of The Edmonton Sun.

Linda’s social media column can be found every Tuesday in the Edmonton Sun.

Kindness to be found on social media

It started as a small gesture that’s proving to have a huge impact.

Local tweeter Jennifer Banks (@JenBanksYEG) answered a Twitter request recently from a youth worker looking for a baby bassinette to give to a young mother.

After she donated her bassinette, Banks was overcome with emotion thinking about how much her own family depended on the food bank and other donations when she was growing up and how important giving back truly was.

That’s when she came up with “Make Jen’s Day.”

Banks put out a call on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, asking the public to “Make Jen’s Day” by giving back in some way – and boy did they.

In just four days, Banks received an overwhelming response from the online community.

“There were 115 acts of kindness, giving, generosity and commitments to volunteer going forward,” Banks tells me. “It’s just amazing what people did.”

The acts ranged from donating to non-profits to spending time talking to someone who hadn’t had many visitors in the hospital. One person who had been travelling at the time even ended up donating to a food bank in every province from Ontario back to Alberta on her return trip. Everyone who participated was encouraged to tweet and post photos of their act of kindness.

The campaign was so successful that Banks has now created a @MakeJensDay Twitter account and is launching a website in the coming weeks.

“In four days, this community can make 115 things happen just for my birthday. I figured ‘what can we do with 365 days?’” Banks said.

The goal of the website is to encourage acts of kindness and giving year-round and to remind people that small gestures, even something as simple as holding the door open for someone or making a child smile, can go a very long way. It’s not a new concept but it’s certainly well worth the reminder.

We could all use a little bit more kindness in our lives. It’s time to get up and give back and remember that giving back doesn’t have to cost money: Sometimes the best things in life are free.

I’m so impressed with how the online community stepped up to fulfill Banks’ request and I’m so inspired by it and by her.

Banks’ small gesture that began through Twitter has snowballed into something truly amazing and something that is sure to change – in fact I’m sure it already has changed – many lives.

To get involved with Make Jen’s Day go to or @MakeJensDay on Twitter.

Some Tweets of the Week:

@THE_REAL_BRETTG: Man… I love this city for real. It’s so beautiful. Like anything else we hold value to, it has its flaws, but they are minor. #yeg

@KaleyBird: This is a great day!! I am moving home to #yeg! … And it’s not back to my parents!

@YouAreFIERCE: So much drama surrounding a very dated festival IMO. What’s in a name? #klondikedays #capitalex #yeg #whocares

@slwasylyshyn: Lovely day in #yeg hard to believe summer is half over! Enjoy it while it lasts!! #sunscreen #bugspray

@jedjohns: Today I have lived in the great city of #Edmonton for 3 years! What an adventure! Thanks to everyone for making this my adopted home. #yeg

Click here to read the column on the Edmonton Sun website!

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