Have you ever been insulted on social media?
Or felt awful after reading through the comments on an online video? Maybe you’ve even received a negative text message from someone. Have you ever wondered... “Why are people online simply so horrible to each other?” You’re not alone. A recent report found that more than 50% of social media users engage in arguments online - even though only 3% of them actually want to see such things! And a third of people in the survey had ended a relationship due to an online exchange they had with someone. At the same time, multiple studies have found possible connections between our social media habits, smartphone addiction, and poor mental health. It’s no wonder we feel anxious or depressed if we’re wading through such negativity every time we look at our devices... But does it really have to be that way?
Using our tech for good
Here at Sinch, we know how to send messages. It’s what we do best – our technology is used to process 30 billion transactions every year. We're able to reach virtually every mobile phone on the planet, in seconds or less. So we decided to use our experience handling millions of text messages to fight back against online negativity. By helping to spread positivity instead – stranger to stranger. #TextForHumanity is the world’s first texting switchboard, connecting people from around the world to share a positive exchange. The idea is simple: Send a positive message to your local number, and we will make sure it gets delivered to a stranger somewhere in the world. And then you will receive someone else’s positive message in return. Hopefully, it will brighten your day! To do this, we partnered with Mental Health America, a leading nonprofit dedicated to promoting mental health and supporting those living with mental illness. The organization, founded in 1909, is a veteran in the fight for mental wellness, and we're proud to embark on this small, but meaningful, mission together.
We know there is a lot of negativity online these days. By taking a minute to deliver a simple, positive message to someone who may need it, each of us can help brighten someone’s day and lift up their overall mental well-being.
Does social media meanness get you down sometimes? Try #TextForHumanity – a simple idea that allows you to send (and receive) messages of warmth, kindness and positivity. Find out more here https://t.co/PRSmedmR5B
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) February 4, 2020
And just two weeks after launching #TextForHumanity, we're proud to say more than 6000 positive messages have been sent. The impact has not gone unnoticed.
Make someone smile across the globe
"I just signed up and sent my first text, and it felt amazing," one parent wrote on Twitter. "As the mom of a young adult battling mental illness, I know the importance of keeping her encouraged. Always grateful for friends and family who can help - so honored to do the same for someone else." John, a nurse in Florida, complimented it as a "good use of tech to spread positivity". DigitalAgenda, a program encouraging "tech for good", highlighted #TextForHumanity as a great initiative ahead of Blue Monday (the third Monday in January), frequently described as the most depressing day of the year. An Instagram user in California wrote: “I joined the number, and I have been messaging all afternoon. It feels good to make others happy and put a smile on their face. Thank you for this opportunity.” So far messages have been sent to and from 42 countries – but we want everyone to be able to participate in #TextForHumanity. We’ve decided to open up the platform further, to let even more people from more countries across the globe to join the movement. With over 300 million daily active users worldwide, WhatsApp is the perfect platform to support that. So, from now onwards, you will be able to send a #TextForHumanity through WhatsApp. All the details on how to get involved are online here.
Even small actions can make a difference in someone’s day, or life. Take a minute to join #TextForHumanity and spread some positivity.
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In response to the spread of online negativity, we partnered with @wearesinch to build the world's first texting switchboard, #TextForHumanity. The new service lets people send a positive message to a stranger – and receive one in return. Learn more at the link in our bio.
A post shared by Mental Health America (@mentalhealthamerica) on Jan 25, 2020 at 6:01am PST