Edward Snowden just joined Twitter, and his first tweet is a classic.

Edward Snowden has a flair for the dramatic, so it comes as no surprise that his first tweet of all time is pretty darn great.


His second? A question for none other than universal treasure Neil deGrasse Tyson — and a very telling one at that.

Snowden just joined Twitter today. He had over 300,000 followers within hours, but he was following only one account.

Perfect.


Love him or hate him, Snowden touched off more than one critically important debate.

How much latitude should the U.S. government have to spy on its own citizens? What about on citizens of other countries? How freely should companies turn over their data to the government? Can you truly be a whistleblower if you flee the country to avoid facing legal consequences?

And what exactly ... is that facial hair? Exactly?

He's come in for his fair share of criticism to be sure.

Some have criticized Snowden's revelations as overblown. Many have accused him of hypocrisy for fleeing to Russia, a country which also practices extensive domestic surveillance. And others have blasted him for providing critical intelligence to enemies of the United States.

But Snowden's leak has actually led to some real change — and some positive change at that.

Snowden's massive document dump woke up some tech companies to the public relations nightmare that could result from helping governments spy on their users, and many have taken steps to provide more transparency about such requests.

In addition, some argue that the revelations paved the way for legal challenges to the NSA's power to flourish when several years ago they might have died quietly with little fanfare.

It's been slow, gradual change. But change nonetheless. Much of it resulting in more people having greater rights to privacy.

Welcome to Twitter, Edward Snowden.

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images.

Regardless of how we feel about you, you're more than just a giant face on a far-away screen to us.

You're an interesting voice, with interesting things to say. And we're curious to keep on hearing what they are.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.