Intentional kindness emerges from empathy
Who is the kindest person you know? Why are you attracted to that person?
The answer is easy: kind people rock and mean people don't. As humans, we evolved into social animals, and kindness or altruism was essential for developing cultural and family bonds.
Kindness emerged from what we call empathy, our evolutionary superpower, the ability to feel and think like other people.
Except in the case of disabilities, all people are gifted with this capacity. We can mind read, and then recognize similar feelings and thoughts in our own brain.
I call it our superpower, because I see empathy as our highest evolved talent, giving rise to everything good about existence. Empathy makes possible the best things in life: language, culture, families, and friends.
Without empathy, we would have no acts of kindness, and no social connections or bonding. Technology like the internet would never have been invented.
The internet is possible because we can connect empathically to other people through language, visuals, and sounds.
Empathy, kindness, and the internet
So, the internet and social media are tied to kindness and altruism in their origin. As bloggers, we participate heavily in content creation and sharing. The world can be a better place because of your creative spirit.
You have the power to make this happen. All it requires is for you to actively develop and nurture your empathic skills, and communicate with kindness.
The internet is the most powerful tool in the universe to propagate kindness (that we know of). Think about it. The global internet connects us with nearly all people, and our written words have power.
Check out this Ted Talk from a forward-thinking Jonathan Zittrain, discussing the current status of the internet (in 2009) and looking to the future. He pleads for kindness, empathy, and optimism in content we consume, produce, and share on the internet.
This is a system that relies on kindness and trust, which also makes it very delicate and vulnerable. In rare but striking instances, a single lie told by just one entity in this honeycomb can lead to real trouble. ...
Zittrain describes an architecture supporting the internet, based on empathy and kindness, and you are a part of that structure. You benefit from it, as do I.
Specifically, bloggers have tremendous power and influence on the structure of the internet and can spread peace and kindness.
Using empathic and optimistic language in your blog posts will draw more traffic, keep readers on site longer, and bring them back sooner.
The power of the written word in blogs
You have many choices to make each time you communicate online. Let's team up to make the internet a venue for kindness and empathy, while promoting free speech.
For that to work, people have to make a conscious choice to practice their empathic skills and use them out of free will.
And, already masses of people act daily to make a difference.
RandomActsofKindness.org is a site designed to promote and spread kindness on the internet, providing great resources and ideas.
One cute and valuable resource is the infographic below, celebrating World Kindness Day. It gives some clever ideas for spreading kindness.
Bloggers, your motive for kindness is irrelevant
Being positive brings benefits to bloggers in the form of traffic. Remember the kindest person you know, and you are attracted to him or her because of this quality. The kindness is like a people magnet.
The same holds true for kindness and empathy in your blogs, that people will be attracted to you. Of course, more noble reasons exist, and I like how Seth Godin captures this:
One theory says that if you treat people well, you're more likely to encourage them to do what you want, making all the effort pay off. Do this, get that.
While one may be more noble than another, all acts of digital kindness are disruptive in a positive way. With the internet and social media, we humans are in a position to do something that has not been possible for the past 4 billion years of life.
We can be linked globally as a species, consciously being kind to one another, not because we fear god, but because it's the right choice. The global network is a new kind of powerful god that makes religion obsolete.
An empathic global relationship is possible for the first time in billions of years, evolving from the primordial soup. It's time we clean ourselves of the violence of our evolutionary past and act as no other animal species can.
The revolutionary historical figure, Martin Luther, leader of the Catholic Reformation, said "You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say."
For bloggers, Luther's advice is powerful and we must listen, forcing ourselves to communicate with kindness and empathy in our posts, of our own free will. Luther believed that we are responsible to god, but we have evolved beyond the need of an imaginary figure to govern us.
We are responsible to each other. Blog with power, empathy, and kindness, making the world a place more peaceful than it has ever been.
In the end, the reason doesn't matter. Just be kind. We should argue and dispute, but we can do so with a global civility.
A blogger's agenda for making empathy viral
You communicate with the world daily in your blog. You make a difference. You have power.
Here are some ideas for spreading empathy and kindness online:
These are just ideas, brainstormed quickly. I know you can think of more creative ways to spread empathy and kindness.
You are great, and others emulate your kindness. Please do me a favor and share this post with others if you found it useful or interesting. Peace.
We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindness there is at last one which makes the heart run over.
An opportunity for You
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