Yahoo is watching the ripple effects of its "How Good Grows" effort, encouraging people to do random acts of kindness and pass them on.
The effort, which builds on last year's "You In?" campaign, encourages people to perform an act of kindness for others and then share it at www.kindness.yahoo.com. The campaign started with a soft launch on Nov. 14 and kicked off officially Dec. 1.
"Yahoo believes that one small act of kindness can create a really great ripple of generosity," says Erin Carlson, senior director of Yahoo for Good. "We are encouraging our audience to do one simple, random act of kindness and then share it online. Then you can see the ripple that you create right there on the site as more people click on your ripple and are inspired to do their own random act of kindness.
So far, about 40,000 people have shared their acts of kindness. Last year's campaign drew more than 320,000.
"We have learned that during the holiday season people are noticing the people who are less fortunate than them, and they want to do something to help, but they don't know where to start," Carlson says. "The idea is to do one simple thing, and by doing that you really can cover the world in kindness."
Yahoo is actively promoting the effort through the end of December, but plans to keep the site live throughout the coming year.
"The most exciting thing that's new this year is there's a way for everyone to see how big a ripple of kindness they create," Carlson says. "The idea is the more you share your act of kindness, your ripple will grow larger and larger. People will see that act of kindness and then pass it on through their social networks. It's a really exciting way to see how big an influence you can have."
To help expand those ripples, Yahoo is integrating the campaign with Yahoo Updates, Facebook and Twitter so people can share their acts through their social networks more easily. In addition, the company this year has invited more online influencers to join the effort to spread the initiative through their networks.
The company has also added "Inspiring Acts" to its Year in Review Top 10 lists.
Finally, Yahoo is watching for compelling acts of kindness and then adopting those. For example, after seeing one person buying groceries for a stranger, the company bought groceries for people on the day before Thanksgiving.
"We are watching for really compelling acts of kindness on the site and then we're amplifying them with our own Yahoo resources," Carlson says. Today, the company plans to go to post offices to pay for people's shipping because it's expected to be the busiest shipping day of the year.
"Last year we learned that people are really excited about doing a kind act and sharing it with other people and encouraging others to join in," Carlson says. "We are excited to see how this grows. We really do believe that Yahoo has the unique ability to connect that individual person to the global online community to make good things grow."