Today I thanked someone I didn’t know for helping me to do something that I never thought I’d need. I’ve made a decision. I’m going to thank complete strangers more often.
Every single day I am amazed at the generosity of people on the internet. People who make free WordPress themes, Chrome plug-ins, web applications. People who upload a 40 minute video showing you how to make your website responsive, or play a Tool song on the ukulele, or who put up the guitar tab of a piano concerto. People who give away their knowledge for free, really for free, not in the hopes that you’ll sign up to their $999 special promotion program.
I’ve got this crazy idea. We need to be thanking those people more often.
This morning, I needed to turn a PDF into a JPG so that I could draw on it. Anyway, not interesting. I quickly googled “pdf to jpg” and found a website that did just that and only that. Two minutes later I had my PDF in JPEG format. On top of all that, the website owner donates one tree for every 5000 PDFs converted.
This guy had made a program that converted PDFs to JPGs, registered a website and put the whole thing up there for free (with ads, of course). This man, this complete stranger, helped me today! So I did the only thing I could. I got on to Twitter and thanked him.
We’re so quick to use Twitter or Facebook to air our grievances. You get shafted by some rude prick at Carphone Warehouse and you’re straight on to social media to complain about it. But think of all the times that things have just gone right. If you’ve got nothing to complain about, that means everyone was doing their job. How often do we thank people for doing their job?
Whenever I use a program or app made by a sole developer I like to take the time to thank them – in the reviews, on Twitter, in a personal email. Imagine how many of those they get – maybe a few a week. Probably more like a handful a year. I know that they must be appreciated because I always get a response back within a few hours saying “hey, thanks so much for your email!”
So here’s my idea. If you use a product today, or get served by a nice person, or someone does something that makes your life a little easier, send them a thanks. If you’re an avid Twitter user, make it your #1nicetweet of the day. Imagine if everyone sent #1nicetweet a day? Wouldn’t Twitter be a nicer place?
I’m gonna try to give it a go. Maybe not every day, but surely I can come up with one nice thing to say about someone most days. Can’t I? Surely?
How about you? What one nice thing did someone do for you today?