These are the highlights of Irish online kindness in 2020

There has been a lot of talk about kindness in the last year. The wealth and lack of it, how to practice it, how to show it to others, to yourself, and even the earth.

But after the last year, I think we’ve all learned that just a little of it, can go a long way.

The KIND Movement’s slogan is ‘We believe when you feel good inside, you want get out and do good outside’. Their nutritious and tasty bars are used to inspire acts of kindness, to foster communities and to fuel their movement. Established as not-only-for-profit, KIND™ is also committed to using its business as a vehicle for social change. They aim to inspire everyday acts of kindness (five million and counting!), and The KIND Foundation works to create kinder, more empathetic communities.

New social data has today revealed the milestone moments in 2020 and beginning of 2021 that have had a direct impact on how Ireland has exercised kindness online. KIND Snacks identified a collection of phrases that repeatedly came up in tweets where people had spread kindness, or positively commented on another individual's act of kindness.

Using these terms, KIND Snacks was then able to track how they had been used throughout the year, noting significant peaks and troughs against ongoing conversation for key calendar events or cultural moments, from Covid-19 announcements to Matt Damon being spotted in Dalkey!

Surveying Ireland’s tweets from the entire year & start of 2021, the index has revealed that moments such as The Late Late Show Charity appeal campaign, Clap for Carers and #SaveDublinZoo all significantly swung online chat for the better, whilst national lows included new announcements of Level 5 restrictions.

Commissioned by KIND Snacks, the index, coined the ‘Kind Curve’, shows how we have come together as a country at key events throughout 2020. Remarkable acts of kindness have dominated news stories alongside rolling Covid-19 updates and as a result of the data displayed in the Curve and now KIND Snacks is calling on the people of Ireland to ensure this wave of kindness continues for 2021.

Matt Damon sends sweet message to children at Temple Street | SHEmazing!

Their fascinating social study, using their Kind Curve Index, reveals Ireland’s top kindest moments of 2020 using new social data. In 2020, there were 3,750,000 kind tweets posted, making an average of 10,200 a day. And with 51,100 kind tweets posted in January 2021 so far, we are at an average of 7,300 a day, showing a fairly significant decrease.

The peak of kindness was revealed to be at the start of Lockdown #1, with 22,484 kind tweets posted on the 17th March as the nation prepared for lockdown announcements.

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The Late Late Toy Show charity appeal raising €6.2m helped push kindness out online on the 28th November, seeing a spike in kindness as 10,330 kind tweets were posted, up 6,911 from the 22nd, showing a 49% increase. The anticipation of a better, brighter new year saw a 76% increase in kind tweets, from the 29th December to the 31st.

Top 8 moments that sparked kindness in 2020

1.    Government coronavirus plans call for extraordinary measures (22,484)

2.    Clap for Carers launches (17,164)

3.    Global Covid Cases pass 1 million (15,952)

4.    GAA's community focus announced (15,508)

5.    Matt Damon locks down in Dalkey (13,240)

6.    Leo Varadkar quotes Mean Girls during COVID-19 briefing (13,096)

7.    Joe Biden announced as the next US President (12,891)

8.    Tony Holohan steps back to care for wife (12,850)

A Year of Kindness

Uncovering just when and where Ireland has exercised kindness this year, the Kind Curve revealed that Ireland’s kindness peaked dramatically on the 17th March, as the country prepared for a national lockdown to tackle Covid-19. A difficult day for many, the dramatic peak in kindness saw kind tweets increase by 103% from the 10th March to the 17th March, showing just how the people of Ireland came together to support and guide each other in response to the news.

Dr. Tony Holohan will be awarded the Freedom of Dublin City | SHEmazing!

Other notable kindness highs included Joe Biden announced as the next US President, Tony Holohan stepping back to care for his wife as people rallied to support and acknowledge is efforts, whilst Matt Damon being locked down in Dalkey also helped spur tweets of support, humour and kindness online.

Interestingly, the data revealed that despite these good news moments coming through the year, the nation has not managed to meet the burst of support and kindness on offer at the start of the first lockdown. Whilst there have been significant peaks, the overall trajectory shows a worrying downwards trend and implies there is still more work to be done when it comes to increasing our kindness to each other online.

Though times are tough and the world might seem a little darker than we’d hoped for 2021, it is simply more reason to be a source of light right now. Spread a little kindness, in person, online or wherever you see the opportunity, this year, to create your own light in 2021.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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