Rumor has it that something mean is posted on Twitter every 60 seconds.
But let's be real — it's probably more often than that. Even if it were only as often as every 60 seconds, that means someone is receiving a negative, insulting, or aggressive tweet that could at best annoy them and at worst truly hurt them every single minute. Welcome to the world of cyberbullying.
But what would it look like if niceness were just as prevalent online as meanness is?
Meet The NiceBot.
The brainchild of Champions Against Bullying and Deutsch Inc. advertising agency, @TheNiceBot is a Twitter account devoted to tweeting nothing but compliments and kind thoughts to people throughout the day. Every 30 seconds to be exact.
The project's goal is to eventually reach all 300 million Twitter users, one by one.
NiceBot uses a program to select Twitter users at random and send them prewritten positive messages — kind of like spam for good.
Deutsch Executive Creative Director Jeff Vinick told AdAge:
"We started thinking about different ways to be nice to as many people as possible, and a spambot seemed like a good solution. And while spam is normally thought of as something negative, we figured that if the message was simple and positive enough, people would respond favorably—and maybe even be tempted to spread some niceness themselves."
Sure, the spammy, randomized nature of the account might make for a few awkward tweets, like this one to Bill Cosby (yikes)...
...but who wouldn't want to see random notes like these in their timeline?
And my personal favorite:
Gestures like this can seem too simple and gimmicky to be truly meaningful. Can one Twitter account really change an entire culture of nastiness and cyberbullying? Um, no. But it's a step in the right direction.
On some days — you know those days — getting one nice comment, even from an automated bot, could definitely brighten your mood. Especially now.
In a time where many of our feeds are filled with heaviness, fear, and discord, moments of random positivity seem like a pretty good idea.
Not just for the momentary pleasure it brings, but because of the larger reminder it provides:
Even though the online world sometimes seems like a bizarre, surreal, and quite unreal place, it has the potential to replicate the best — and the worst — of our real-world tendencies, habits, and natures.
Sure, we can choose to replicate dangerous patterns of abuse, racism, sexism, hatred, gossip, insensitivity, exclusivity, and the like. But with every tweet, we also have the opportunity to spread more kindness, sensitivity, compassion — and maybe a little humor too.
So why not follow @TheNiceBot's lead and just do it? If more of us were nice bots (but, you know, human nice bots), the real world might just be a much nicer place.