You may be one of the millions of viewers who felt disgust on watching the video of bus monitor Karen Klein being harassed by teenagers and wondered whether it was uploaded maliciously or not. Apparently, CapitalTrigga, a student at the school concerned, saw the video on Facebook and uploaded it to YouTube because he felt that somebody needed to stand up for Karen. The video touched people all over the world and a college student started an online campaign on Indiegogo to raise $5,000 to send Klein on a much-needed vacation; more than $665,000 has already been raised.
While the anonymity of the Internet allows for frequent cases of bullying and harassment, it also allows people to do good and give back anonymously. Wikipedia, where people anonymously share their knowledge and extend the platform without reward, is a great example of this.
Another poignant tale is that of the young man in this image. This image went viral on Monday, when someone found the camera he lost in Amsterdam. Via Facebook, the finder asked friends to share and spread the photo in order to find the camera’s owner. In only a few days and over 57,000 shares later, the man from Canada was identified and reunited with his camera.
But being kind doesn’t always have to be without rewards. Thanks to some business-savvy social entrepreneurs, the returns on doing good and supporting others are suddenly getting better and better.
The Mutual, for example, bills itself as a “Groupon for good”. Subscribers donate $10 per month to one of The Mutual’s partner causes (there are currently five causes on board) or spread the money across causes. In return, they get perks from local businesses. At Butter Lane, for example, customers get two cupcakes for the price of one, every time they visit!
Smallknot is a Brooklyn-based startup that provides incentives for supporting small, local businesses in your community. In crowd-funding style, you choose your favorite local business campaign, be it to replace old chairs in a cafe or create a beer bicycle, and invest a small amount in it, receiving goods, services, discounts, and unique experiences in return.
The Internet offers plenty of opportunities to do good and be generous, whether for a material reward or just a warm, fuzzy feeling. In the end, there is not too much of a difference between doing good online or in real life.