The Internet amplifies. Sometimes it amplifies the worst of human nature, and sometimes it amplifies the best.
Kevin Curwick is a rising senior at Osseo High School in Minnesota who started a Twitter account called @osseonicethings. He was fed up with the meanness and cruelty being spread online in his high school community, so he decided to do something simple to stop it.
At his new Twitter account, he encouraged people to direct message him with nice things to say about other students, including people being picked on in other forums (he remained anonymous at first). Kevin happens to have a great ear for language (the repetition emerging in the stream is poetic), and a great sense of how to communicate in 140 characters. The tweet stream is really touching.
It's being picked up in various media pretty quickly, the Huffington Post has a piece, Selena Gomez retweeted to her followers, and it sounds like he was on something with Ryan Seacrest. I am all too happy to jump on this bandwagon and try to spread to a few more people.
This is the kind of thing that we educators really, really want to go viral on the Internet as we get ready to start the school year.
I think it's pretty important that adults don't create any of these accounts; this is a youth thing and it should stay that way. But if we share some stories and drop some hints in our advisories and homerooms, maybe we could help kids pick this kind of thing up and run with it on their own.
If for some reason, any of the young people who are part of this movement happen across this article, it's really important that you hear this: What you are doing is fabulous and a real inspiration to your communities and to us weird old people. You remind me why I love working with kids so much: your unceasing capacity to inspire me to be better.
OK, time to go be more nice to people.