I remember receiving chain letters in the mail. There were those threatening ones that you had to send out to x number of people lest some awful fate befell you. And then there were those that rewarded you with something a sticker, stationery or something that you would only receive once you had sent out the same letter to the required number of people.
As a sticker and stationery collecting kid, I never thought of it as a pyramid scam but of course that’s what it was.
These days snail mail may be dead but chain letters still exist in the form of chain emails or worse, Facebook status updates. You see your friends copy and paste the same status update, usually to promote a cause and sometimes, foolishly, a misconception or gross misinformation. Ah yes, the chain status update is the logical evolution of the chain letter.
I’m not a fan of chain status updates, but I do believe in the power of social media, when used for good, to spread a good thing.
And so when I saw my cousin post this “promise to make a work of art” on her wall, I dutifully copied and pasted, chain letter-style.
“I, Marcie Taylor, promise to make a small work of art for the first ten people who comment “I’m in!” on this post. A ‘like’ alone is not enough.
In turn, you must post this as your status update and make something for the first ten people who comment “I’m in!” on your status. No post? No art!
• It has to be an original work—made by you—and the recipient must receive it before the end of 2014.
• It can be anything: a drawing, photo, video, a piece of music, a bit of writing, a conceptual work or anything in between.”
While my cousin’s post was filled with takers, mine was slow to fill. Did no one want a piece of art by me? Did no one want to make something for other people? I thought that maybe my cousin’s offer had takers because she is an actress with many artist friends eager to take on the challenge. But I have artistic friends and social media friends too!
A few days after I posted my Facebook status update, I saw some friends, in person, who’d taken me up on my offer to make them a small piece of art. They too were surprised and saddened to see that few had taken up their offer. One friend surmised that people were afraid to commit to having to make something for other people – which makes sense. We’re not offering money, and making art ain’t easy. That’s a tough commitment for many, I suppose.
I’ve given up on getting more takers to my ” let me make art for you offer” and am gladly working on pieces for those who did comment “I’m in.”
Recently, I’ve started seeing a variation of the post slowly circulating. Here’s what it says:
To start the new year off in a positive way, I’m sponsoring a “Pay It Forward” initiative as follows: The first 5 people who comment on this status with “I’m In!” will receive a surprise from me at some point this year (anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, any kind of a surprise)! There will be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. All I require is that you 5 people agree that YOU will commit and make the same offer in YOUR Facebook status and distribute your own form of joy to 5 others!
Simply copy this text into your profile status (copy and paste, don’t share) and see what happens. Lets do more nice and kind things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile!
Now that’s a chain I can get behind. Any takers?