Canton Middle School student Brianna Marino knows that social media can have its pitfalls but she also knows it can be a force for good, whether it's loved ones reaching out to each other during a crisis or simply spreading the word about a positive effort.
So for her Odyssey Project, for which 8th graders explore a career path or work on a social service project, Marino decided to document and track random acts of kindness on instagram. It's aptly titled Gram you Kindness. She likens it to a tree, with the added photos being the branches.
"I felt putting social media and kindness together would get it rolling," she said.
She has one convert already. As an attorney, Janeanne Lubin-Szafranski was skeptical of social media, especially when it comes to young people. Her granddaughter, however, has shown her otherwise.
"She has inspired me to take action and to revisit my preconceptions about teens and social media," Lubin-Szafranski said. "If the kids can see how much positive can come out of it, they'll be less likely to gravitate to the negative."
With Brianna's aunt living in Boston, the family also saw social media in a positive light during the recent Marathon bombings and aftermath as families, law enforcement and well wishers used it to communicate.
To help Marino prove social media can be used for good, photograph random acts of kindness large and small and use the hashtag #leaveyourleaf when sharing on instagram. Follow the effort at @BriOdyssey. Those who don't have instagram can send pictures to email@example.com.