It’s mid-January. According to the universal law of calendar science, are we still allowed to share a New Year’s story? My friend Mary sent me a piece of news she knew I’d find interesting: Random acts of kindness have been listed by London-based firm Trendwatching.com as one of the hottest new trends of 2011. That’s right alongside self-monitoring your health and paying less than retail. Apparently, giving is the new taking. (I guess I’ve been out of the loop – I’d only heard that black is the new black. Or was that last year?)
This trend-reporting website is targeted to corporate types, however, so it also includes tips on capitalizing on these consumer trends for – what else? – the benefit of business. Example: Do an unexpected kindness for a customer, and that’ll show you care. The article goes further, suggesting companies can use social media tools to find out more about their individual customers. This way, they’ll pick up hints about specifically which acts of kindness will go over well.
That’s where it gets a little creepy. When the VP of marketing uses Twitter to find out about a customer who’s had a bum of a day and could use a bouquet… well, that’s almost stalking. (And why does it make me think about those old Impulse Body Spray commercials? “If a complete stranger suddenly gives you flowers, that’s Impulse…”)
Trend or no trend, I’m positive you’re not out there performing good deeds just because the cool kids do it. Compassion isn’t a new invention. And some things just never go out of style.