The internet is a wonderful tool for bringing people together. You can easily talk with people from different countries, different cultures and all walks of life without even leaving your chair. And when people come together great things can happen.
Here are just a few stories that have been made possible because of the internet.
With the seemingly celebrity obsessed culture we live in the trending topics on Twitter tend to be full of instantly recognisable names. But in May 2012 one name started trending who few had ever heard of, Ryan Kennedy. Ryan is a 9 year old boy who is suffering from brain cancer and although his birthday is only 3 weeks away, he is still fighting to live until he turns 10.
Friends of Ryan decided that to help encourage him they would turn to Twitter and thus started the #RyanKennedy and #staystrongRyan hashtags. The hashtag quickly spread around the world, reaching the top ten trending in the U.K., Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Indonesia, Spain and the Netherlands. As well, as making the top 20 in America and Canada. Supportive tweets flooded the net after hearing about Ryan’s story and brain cancer became a major talking point for many.
Keep Aaron Cutting
During the London riots in 2011 many businesses were hit hard, including 89 year old barber Aaron Bibel. His barbershop in Tottenham was ransacked during the looting and, since he had no insurance, it looked like his livelihood was destroyed.
That’s when BBH Labs stepped in to help out. They set up a website for Aaron, recorded a video and hit social media networks to get his story heard. The response was £35,000 in donations, more than enough to get his shop renovated and back in business. He donated a portion of the money raised to Bruce Grove Youth Centre, to help out disadvantaged kids.
Sometimes the simpler things in life are the most enjoyable. This was the case for Scott Widak, a 47 year old American with Down syndrome who has been diagnosed with terminal liver disease. He enjoyed opening letters. As such, when Scott was feeling down his nephew, Sean O’Connor turned to the Reddit community to help cheer him up. Sean provided his uncle’s address and interests to Redditors and urged them to send a letter.
And they did. Hundreds of letters came in from across the world from as far wide as Japan, Australia, Mexico and the U.K.. Each offered their own form of encouragement and many included mementos and keepsakes for Scott. Sony Music Entertainment even sent 15 CDs and DVDs, proving that both strangers and companies are capable of immense amounts of kindness.
With a bit of imagination cardboard boxes can be the greatest toy a child can have. They can be cars, spaceships or, in the case of 9 year old Caine Monroe, an arcade. Over one of his summers Caine created an elaborate arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s auto parts shop. All he wanted was for people to come and have fun but his dad’s shop was in a fairly run-down part of East L.A. and didn’t get much footfall. Luckily for Caine, one of the customers, called Nirvan Mullick, who was buying car parts liked the arcade and was impressed by Caine’s dedication so much that he decided to help out.
Mullick created a video and Facebook group advertising Caine’s arcade. He used social media to organise a flashmob of people to go and play at the arcade for a day, which Caine himself described as the happiest day of his life. People have been so touched by Caine’s story that a fund has been set up raising money for his future education, the total of which will be matched by the Goldhirsh Foundation to support other amazing kids.
These are just a few of the wonderful stories that have been made possible because of the internet. There are tons more going on all the time, with websites like Kiva, Sparkedand Change.org making it easily possible to help change people’s lives.
Want some information how you can use the internet for good, then email us at hello@reasondigital or sign up to our newsletter.