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Twipple: Twitter To Be Kind

As Twitter quickly becomes a household name, some are finding uses for the microblogging tool that go beyond work and play.
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As Twitter quickly becomes a household name, some are finding uses for the microblogging tool that go beyond work and play. One of of the most thoughtful we've seen is Twipple - twittering + random acts of kindness. As the twitter page explains, "a twipple is a random act of kindness via twitter. We post 1 twipple per 100 sign ups. So please sign up and tell your friends. twipple ideas also welcomed!"

We asked Twipple creator and PSFK friend Floyd Hayes to share a bit more about 'the twipple effect'.

First: what is twipple?

A twipple is a Tweet combined with random acts of public kindness, Flash Mobs and a dose of silliness. Unlike normal flash mobs, participants perform the action right there and then as opposed to converging in a large group at a specified time and location. Adrants called it a "feel good meme" which I love!

How did twipple start?

I'd been following flash mobs for years and at the same time getting into the concept of 'socially useful marketing'. I'd commented on PSFK a few times asking why flash mobs, although great fun and an interesting modern phenomena, couldn't be more socially useful.

Which led me to think about random acts of kindness. This concept has been around since 1982, reportedly coined by peace activist Anne Herbert. So, it occurred to me it may be interesting to revisit the Random Acts idea but through the modern lens of twitter.

The name came from the combination of the word 'twitter' and the word 'ripple' as in 'ripple effect.' I started the project on Feb 1 2009. Twitter is free and easy and I wanted to learn more about how it worked, how people networked through it, how information flowed, the etiquette and so on.

What do you hope to achieve with the project?

I had no big goal in mind. I call these kind of personal experiments 'Information Toys' -- information-based ideas I can play with and learn from.

In this instance I was taken by the idea of people being inspired through twitter to do socially useful and fun public acts. In my heart of heart I would like thousands of people doing twipples and importantly, putting forward their own twipple suggestions. I don't want to be some sort of benign twitter puppet master! I'd like it to take on a life of is own really.

If anything, I would be happy if it just makes people think for one second about how we behave socially in groups and how this wonderful technology at our disposal can be used for positive purposes beyond marketing or aimless goofiness (although I'm a fan of both of those things too!).

How do small gestures (like individual twipples) turn into big change?

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