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When something terrible and purposeful happens, like the bombings in Boston yesterday, we first ask why. Sometimes there are half-answers — the person responsible felt wronged in some way, the attacker wanted attention for this or that perspective. And so we open our ears to ravings, and turn our attention to psychosis.

Soon enough, we will know who, we will know why, we will know how. None of us will be the richer for that information. And while we wait for another lunatic to reason us through his particular brand of senselessness, we feel helpless.

So instead of waiting for answers that seek to diminish our common humanity, let’s to turn to one another and reaffirm it. None of us is helpless. We can help just by being good to each other, maybe a little better than usual.

The team at Go Mighty talked yesterday and decided that we’d like to ask our community to do 500 small good things. We hope you’ll join us in making time to do something simple and generous. When you do, please let us know by tagging your posts on Go Mighty, Instagram, or Twitter with #MightyKind. When we get to 500 acts, we’ll donate $500 to the American Red Cross in honor of the victims of the Boston bombings.

Lunatics. You are outnumbered.

Update: Hey, team. There’s been some discussion in comments over this project and sensitivity about brands using tragedy for promotional purposes, which was far from our goal here. I’ve been thinking about the best approach to make our intentions clear and I think Angela’s suggestion is a good one, “Why not just hashtag it #kindnessforBoston or something similar, leave the mighty brand out of it, and go ahead and donate 500 bucks because it’s a good thing to do? I don’t think anyone’s trying to use a tragedy to get exposure, but it’s a slippery slope and probably best to keep the mighty brand out of it.”

Agreed. So we’ll be donating the $500 to the Red Cross today, but I do still believe in and want to do the project. If you’d like to join in, use the tag “smallgoodthings” so I can find you and high five you.

35 thoughts on “Answers

  1. #mightykind? are we really using this event to promote our brands now? wow

    Fair point. To put this in context, yesterday we were all set to launch a community challenge around doing something “fun” every day with the hashtag #mightyup. Then the bombings happened, and it felt gross to say, “Everyone go have FUN!” So we pulled the plug on that, decided to do this instead, and changed the hashtag and charity to reflect the new idea. I honestly didn’t pause about the hashtag, because “mightywhatever or #gowhatever is just our rote starting point for anything we do as a community. Thanks for the reality check — autopilot disengaged. -M


  2. I have to agree with @Shawni. I’m all for random acts of kindness as a way to strike back at the horror, but donating the money as a “reward” for your brand promotion is gross.


  3. I fully support random acts of kindness, but advertising that you’ve done one (via Twitter, etc) can seem rather boastful. And conditional charity hardly seems like charity. I understand what you are trying to do, but surely the Red Cross deserves the donation without question (or fewer than 500 participants in this)?


  4. I love the idea. I wish we didn’t need a remind to be kind to one another. Sadly, I think that’s where we are. I’ll gladly spread the word to generate more money towards a good cause and help restore faith in humanity. #MightyKind


  5. I know Maggie personally. She would NEVER intentionally use this as a brand promotion. The End. Now, let’s please go back to being kind. Thank you.


  6. Maggie, this is a good idea, and it’s clear to me, as it will be to anyone who follows your writing and your work that it is done in a spirit of kindness, community, and positivity! You’re using your power for good, and I’m grateful. Thanks for everything you do.


  7. I think anything that can be done, by brands or individuals, to prolong the desire for change in the wake of a senseless tragedy is a good thing. How many times do we respond to these events by breathlessly watching the news and wishing that we could do something, but we don’t? We stew and grieve and then before we know it we’re ok until the next tragedy.

    I have no doubt that Maggie and the other people behind this gave it plenty of thought and are genuinely trying to use their voice to prolong/sustain/strengthen the idea that we can overpower the devastation through collective efforts to do good.

    I am in, and in doing so, I am no less horrified by what has happened.


  8. I’m sure that you didn’t consciously look at this tragic event as a way of promoting your brand on social media, but this is exactly what 50 cent was lambasted for by the aid world a few years ago (albeit on a larger scale).

    It just comes across as extortionist and self-interested. Why not start the ball rolling by making your donation first, and then encouraging a #godonateamightyamountofmoney hashtag?


  9. I live in Boston and was at the 26 mile marker waiting for friends who were running. I don’t care what the motivations is, if something good can come of this, Bostonians will take comfort in it.

    I have followed Maggie for a while now. It is anything but selfish what she is asking. I see nothing wrong with using hashtags as they were intended: to track trends. Tracking kindness is something we could all use more of.


  10. Of all the reactions to moments of senseless tragedy, I find the encourage of kindness to be the greatest.

    I’ll gladly use the hashtag, not only to be a part of a community of amazing women, but also as a way to tack, follow and encourage the journey of kindness with others.

    Doing something is always empowering, otherwise we’d just be a collection of ineffective bystanders with matching Facebook avatars.


  11. RCL, no one is saying that Maggie is being intentionally insensitive. But sometimes good people (and even your friends!) can do things that are offensive. I don’t think you’re doing her any favors by being rude and dismissive to those bringing up legitimate criticism.

    Count me among those who feel this is in incredibly bad taste.


  12. Meaghan, I just read the link you provided, specifically the 50 cent project as that is what you are comparing this to. It says that 50 cent was asking for likes on his facebook page advertising his energy drink and, in exchange, he would provide a meal to a child in Somalia.
    I think comparing that to Maggie asking people to perform an act of kindness and share it is extreme.


  13. Amber, the issue is that Maggie is asking people to publicly link those acts of kindness to her BRAND. Not her non-profit, not the tragedy itself, not the beneficiaries of charity… but to her money making BRAND. That is where the similarities to 50 cent reside.

    #mighty[blank] is not ONLY about building community, it is Maggie’s livelihood. Remember, if you’re not paying for something, you’re the product.


  14. @Amber, the comparison is that Maggie is offering to make a charitable donation ONLY IF her brand hashtag is shared on social media a minimum number of times.

    Again, I’m sure that Maggie’s not intentionally trying to take advantage of the situation, but I don’t think that the optics of this were thought out. As Lily says above, nobody’s perfect, and sometimes wonderful and lovely people have bad ideas.


  15. I caution you against chalking tragedies like this up to ‘psychosis’ and ‘lunatics’ when we don’t know anything about who did it.

    While it may generally make it easier for us to process, saying, “Oh, it was some crazy person!” actually reduces the amount of responsibility that they need to take for their actions. It’s an initial reaction that I myself experience whenever something like this happens because it’s way less frightening than the idea of a person in their right mind committing heinous acts like these.

    And the idea that we won’t be any richer for knowing WHY is strange to me. I agree with the sentiment of your post — we should all focus on being good to one another, particularly in times like these, rather than getting tied up in media spin and questions we can’t answer right now — but certainly once this gross media storm has died down and some healing has been allowed to occur, the why is what will shed light on bigger picture steps that need to be taken.

    Outnumbering the ‘lunatics’ doesn’t seem to stop them from doing these things… and it’s not really a numbers game. The why seems like the only place to start if we’re aiming for prevention. I mean, if this WAS done by someone legally insane, then the why could lead us to better access and awareness around mental health, which in itself could save some lives and make us richer on many levels.


  16. I read this and thought Mighty Girl aimed to be a vehicle to promote kindness in the face of inhumanity.

    Maggie’s idea is to organize and provide a Pay-It-Forward-Train, and it seems Meaghan prefers to stand on the platform and sneer.

    Perhaps Meaghan should just stay out of the way of those who want to get on board.

    Brava to Mighty Girl for encouraging her followers via her brand to pay it forward. It is a charitable response to applaud kindness, and how nice for Maggie to back it up with a donation. (Perhaps the brand hashtag allows her to track the number and donate accordingly?)


  17. Ooof…this stuff is awfully hard, and I think there’s value to every comment above. Why not just hashtag it #kindnessforBoston or something similar, leave the mighty brand out of it, and go ahead and donate 500 bucks because it’s a good thing to do? I don’t think anyone’s trying to use a tragedy to get exposure, but it’s a slippery slope and probably best to keep the mighty brand out of it.


  18. I agree wholeheartedly with what Meaghan and Lily are saying. I respect what you do, Maggie, but this wasn’t well thought out. I’m disappointed to see such attacks by your readers on commenters who were kind enough to point out how this well-intentioned idea is a bit off ( particularly after you had already posted your gracious response above).


  19. The Patriots are not asking anyone to hashtag their name or brand as a form of self-promotion to say “look at how we’re helping and we’re so good and kind!”. You can make your donation anonymously on their website and they’ve pledged to donate up to a certain amount.

    This GoMighty BS is something totally different. What happens if you don’t get 500 acts of branding for yourself? Do you not donate ANY money then? It’s classless and disgusting. Charity and helping others is not conditional.

    You could’ve simply said “We donated X amount and we encourage you to do the same. Every little bit helps” WITHOUT pimping your brand on the back of a national tragedy.


  20. Why not just donate the money and call it a day? Why does your act of kindness have to be contingent upon your readers promoting your brand? I’m from the Boston area, I had friends at the finish line (who were, luckily, unhurt) and this just strikes me as someone attempting to use an awful tragedy that will will forever change a Boston tradition for self-serving purposes.


  21. I think we all are raw from what has happened and came out swinging. Sorry, Maggie, that you seem to be the one who got hit.

    I’ll do a random act of kindness, and I’ll hashtag it.


  22. Maggie’s brand has morphed, in the past few years, into an incredible community–inclusive, kind, generous. I see nothing wrong with using that brand to encourage acts of kindness. By hashtagging, you’re in effect joining the team, the movement. It’s a way of joining together, to create something meaningful out of the chaos.

    That said, I respect the thoughtful dissent in these comments, and I wish those who cared enough to chime in weren’t characterized as “sneering” and attacking. Come on, guys. Everyone cares. And that’s pretty great.


  23. Thanks, Maggie, for taking the genuinely well intentioned criticism in the spirit it was intended. Your update is much appreciated.


  24. I think encouraging kindness is the best possible reaction to this tragedy. I think that encouraging kindness is a great call to action even when it is not following a terrible tragedy. I’m not up on the whole hashtag/twitter/etc. phenomenon, so I when I read about this, I was just grateful to be encouraged to be more kind despite my own daily difficulties. It does make me feel like I have something concrete to do after hearing about what happened in Boston, something I can do within my own community, something that makes me feel empowered and strong and kind. I can pray for the survivors in Boston and i can pray for all those around me, and i can put my prayers into action.


  25. I don’t have a Twitter, Instagram, or Go Mighty account, but today I handed out three of the packs my family makes for homeless people on my commute. They contain a can of ravioli, two granola bars, a juice box, and a pack of sanitizing hand wipes. Small good things.

    Jenny. Run away with me. -M


  26. Thanks for the update, Maggie. And thanks for being a place where people can offer (what I tried hard to make sure came across as) thoughtful discussion.


  27. maggie, i haven’t been following your blog for long and i just wanted to say that i’m sorry to see strife, while well placed, came of this. i’d emailed this post to myself as a reminder to be kinder in this difficult time. I didn’t do any small acts of good, but I’m happy to see in the comments that you inspired many, including one of your own a large donation at an important time. I know, I’m one who doesn’t think to do these things until prompted (and then sometimes don’t anyhow) so i think what you did was good.


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