Hannah Drake

5 Acts of Kindness for the Digital Age

Self CareHannah DrakeComment

Earlier this year, I wrote a post called 25 Ways to Give Kindness. The post lists--you guessed it--25 things you can do to enrich the lives of people around you. And spoiler alert, doing something for someone else makes you feel pretty darn good. Today, I'm back with a couple more ideas, but this time with a digital twist. With our phones pretty much always in hand, we can put the apps we probably already have installed to good use and do something nice and unexpected for people we love.


Credit where credit is due: I got this idea from my younger sister. One morning, she randomly Venmoed me $5 with nothing more but "Treat Yo Self 2011" added for comment. I knew what it meant and I was incredibly thankful. On Venmo, it's easy to sneak a gift straight into someone's pocket. And it doesn't even need to be much. $5 is good for a morning treat at a coffee shop, but if you know they're interested in buying something specific (that you can afford), send them the cost of what they're eyeing. Or if you know they're raising money for something or could use money for an upcoming trip, Venmo is a good place to contribute. (Just keep in mind if they are raising money for something, Venmo isn't tax deductible, whereas the site or app where they are fundraising may offer tax deductiblity.) You can also send gift cards on iMessage.


One of my Facebook friends shared this idea for new parents who were also juggling their own careers and their own health issues. I thought it was absolutely brilliant, even though I’ve never used Postmates and it’s not available in the UK. They way it was set up, the couple listed restaurants available through Postmates that they like (presumably with what their order would be) and like a food tree, people would sign up to buy them dinner from places like Chipotle and Wahoo’s and have it delivered directly to their house. You don’t have to cook, you don’t even have to leave your house, but you still get to have the same impact of a classic food tree. And in case you want to do something smaller, you can send e-gift cards from some restaurants’ websites, like Chipotle, but they’ll have to go in to the restaurant themselves to spend it.


I firmly believe that you never truly know how impactful kind words can be. You never know when someone needs some encouragement. You never know how long they carry it with them, taking encouragement from those same words whenever they need it. While doing it in person is great, it’s not always possible when you’re friends are on the other side of the country or the world, or maybe it’s a stranger on the internet. In a time where online trolls roam rampant on social media, it doesn’t hurt to counter some of the hate people spew towards public figures with something positive. Or take a page from your grandma on Facebook’s book and just send a kind comment to your friends on their own social media channels.


Facebook is garbage for a lot of reasons, let’s be honest. But one of the newer features allows for you to create a fundraiser on your page that you and your friends can contribute to. You may have seen people fundraising for their birthdays this year, which is a fantastic idea in lieu of gifts, but did you know that Facebook also recognises seemingly social conscious posts and helps you find a related charity to create a fundraiser for if you so choose.


I believe one of the most meaningful ways you can be kind to someone is to be vulnerable and honest on social media. I’ve talked about how to make social media healthier for you, but being vulnerable and honest to whatever degree you’re comfortable with makes social media healthier for all of us. Instead of posting just the highlights, share some of your mess or some of your struggles. It can mean so much to someone to know they’re not alone in what they’re going with. Or that actually your life isn’t perfect, just because you share pretty images. Through my vulnerability on social media and on this blog, I’ve made real connections with people across the world who can relate to what I’ve gone through or am going through, and that’s just as beneficial for me as it is for them.

So here’s your challenge for the week: How can you do one thing for someone this week? With your phone currently in your hand, you’re halfway there.