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Recently, I’ve started to spend more time interacting and learning on Twitter. Twitter is starting to catch on in a big way; if you want a quick summary, check out David Pogue’s recent New York Times article.
I see Twitter as a way of sharing ideas and resources with people with whom I have something in common, namely a passion for science and education (and a few other fun things). I alluded to some of the benefits I’ve gleaned from Twitter in a previous post and since then, as my network has grown, I’ve had folks share lesson plans, interesting science stories, online resources and even movie recommendations and recipes! I’m happy to say that I’ve contributed a bit to the community as well. I’ve passed on lesson plans of my own, reviewed and commented on people’s educational projects and promoted a few resources. This brings me to Pink Shirt Day.
Pink Shirt Day is a Canadian campaign aimed at stopping bullying. It’s got a neat history and is really starting to take off this year, its second year. Having seen and felt the damage that bullying does, both personally and while working with children as a camp counselor, I’ll be proud to wear a pink shirt on February 25, 2009.
This year when the Pink Shirt Campaign advertising started, I posted the link on Twitter. A few people “Retweeted” and some got in touch with me. One of my Twitter buds, Terri Johnson (known as @terri_science on Twitter) saw the link and got her school involved! Since this is a largely Canadian campaign, it was fantastic that Terri, who lives and works in Missouri, brought her school on board. Another Twitter friend, Jacques Cool, (also known as @zecool) who works with the Department of Education here in New Brunswick also saw the post, and is striving to bring the campaign to the Francophone schools that he works with.
I was astounded how less than 140 characters sent out among millions of tweets can lead to real impacts! Previous to this experience, I had a formula that I applied if I was passionate about something and wanted to make a difference. It went something like this:
Step 1: Be passionate about something.
Step 2: Come up with a good idea or project to promote the thing you’re passionate about.
Step 3: Think, organize, plan. Come up with a realistic way to motivate people to your cause, figure out what resources you’ll need, make a plan on how to execute your idea.
Step 4: Recruit others who are also passionate about your idea to help you.
Step 5: Fundraise, gain supporters, gather resources.
Step 6: Work hard.
Step 7: Success!
Step 8: Tell more people and hope they take on a similar project.
Eight totally worthwhile steps to making your passion a real, working project. I’ve done this in the past and found every step very rewarding. The folks over at the Pink Shirt Day Campaign, lead largely by Christy Clark, are making a real difference and are probably applying a similar formula. My Twitter experience with Pink Shirt Day feels like an incredibly helpful leap to the success step:
Step 1: Be passionate: Bullying must be stopped!
Step 2: Find people who are doing something to make a difference: I thank those two high school students who had the great idea, and also the Pink Shirt Day campaign folks for putting in the hard work.
Step 3: Share idea on Twitter. Idea catches on, more passionate people make a difference in their community.
Step 4: Success!
I am deeply thankful for the incredible folks that make Pink Shirt Day happen, both at the campaign organization level and at each school or business where it takes place. I wanted to point out the power of Twitter as a means of connecting people. All I did was tweet a link to the campaign website followed by my own declaration to wear a pink shirt on February 25. The wonderful folks on Twitter did the rest.