I've been thinking quite a lot about anonymous giving, the purpose of the Golden Receiver Club project, blogging my personal journey, and the role that social media play in sharing this story. And I've decided that I've gone about this all wrong.
My main purpose for blogging, I thought, was to inspire others to do something similar in their own communities. That certainly seemed altruistic but there were pitfalls.
When you put forth the effort it takes to create and maintain a blog, you ultimately want an audience. You're writing interesting posts and you want people to read them. But it doesn't end there. It's not enough that a few people are reading your posts. You want comments, too. So you brainstorm ways to grow your audience and create a community. You label your blog posts with search terms so that maybe, just maybe, Google will send a few readers your way. You check out social media tools like facebook and twitter. You find people and groups with similar interests and begin following them. Some follow you back. Then you obsessively check to see if you have new followers or fans, or if someone liked your status or favorited your tweet. You feel lost amid the cacophony of people and groups clamoring for attention. So you start using hashtags in the hopes that your tweet or status will stand out from the rest.
Look at me, I'm doing random acts of kindness.
Look at Me, I'm doing #random acts of #kindness.
Look At ME, I'm Doing #Random #Acts Of #Kindness.
And therein lies the problem. It's not supposed to be about me. But each time I document an act of kindness or charity and call attention to it, I'm making it entirely about me.* It doesn't matter that you, the audience, do not know who I am. I still get the acknowledgement and the praise. I get the attention. It's my endorphins that get released.
So I've decided that while I will absolutely continue to do acts of kindness and charity, I will no longer be blogging about them. Although I've put quite a bit of time and effort into the exterior of the project - its name, logo, and online presence - I believe scrapping all of it and returning to full obscurity is best for me and, paradoxically, what is best for the project. I will be free to concentrate on truly helping the needy. For example, rather than doing 10 or 12 small acts of charity in the course of a month for the sake of blogging material, I can choose to put all of my funds toward one dire issue thereby making a greater impact.
I will likely maintain my twitter and facebook accounts if only to continue reading what others are doing. I have enjoyed the updates and many of you have given me ideas for future acts of kindness. I will post occasionally, too, but only to share the uplifting stories of others.
Before I depart for good (pun intended), I want to leave you with a couple of verses from the gospel of Matthew that have greatly influenced my decision.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Thanks for reading and best of luck in all your endeavors!
*The views expressed here about anonymity apply specifically to me and are not meant to suggest that similar types of blogs should also be discontinued. In fact, I think there is a lot of merit in the desire to inspire others to do random acts of kindness. The point of my project, going forward, will be to help the neediest among us and therefore should be considered to be random acts of charity. It's the charitable nature of the project that requires anonymity.