As some of you may know, I am a regular reader and fan of the web-comic xkcd. As of this writing, xkcd.com has Alexa rankings of 2,100 globally and 765 in the US. For the uninitiated, this means that xkcd.com, a web-comic, is the 765th most popular website in the US, which is pretty good for a site that only updates content four times per week (3 comics, 1 ‘What If?). That means it generates a lot of visitors. By way of comparison, this website is ranked 11,700,869 globally.
When you generate that much traffic, you have a regular audience, and when you have a regular audience, you have power. You can present any number of things, good, evil, or indifferent. On April Fools Day, Randall Munroe decided to do something good with his power. First, his web comic was updating periodically throughout the day with dynamically changing text on the same illustration. This was no doubt his clever April Fools joke on his readers.
There are always two punchlines, one in the comment and one in the mouseover text (‘title’ for those who read and speak HTML). The mouseover text on the image of the dog read: “The dog gains a pound for every $10 donated to the Wikimedia Foundation via this link. Currently at $xxxxx.xx”
Clicking the image takes you to the Wikimedia Foundation’s donation site, where you can donate to the non-profit to keep their wonderful projects, such as Wikipedia, up and running. As of early this morning when I took this screenshot, $41,457.11 had been raised.
This is powerful and this is good. There was no overt plea for money, and it was subtle enough to be missed by casual observers. Mr. Monroe knows his audience and it great to see how so many people stepped forward to contribute.
The lesson here is that we all have some power, some influence to effect change, to do good. So go do some good.
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