TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading. I’ve decided to take part in that spreading and I’ve initiated something I’m calling #TEDTalkTuesday. Every Tuesday, I will choose a TED Talk that I think will impact me. The impact could be anything. I might learn something totally new or I might learn a new perspective. I might be inspired to take action or take up a new cause. I might laugh or I might cry. And I’m going to share it all with you!
Today is Valentine’s Day so naturally I looked up TED Talks about love. I chose Hannah Brencher’s talk, Love Letters to Strangers. Hannah is 25 years-old and unlike most of her generation, she is passionate about the power of letter writing. Through her TED Talk, she describes what hand written letters can mean to people, in ways that words on a screen can never live up to. Seeing and feeling first hand the impact of letters that she had written and received, she launched The World Needs More Love Letters – a global organization using the power behind social media to write and mail letters all over the world.
There are 4 ways to get involved:
- Mailing letters. Hannah’s website receives requests for letters from all over the world. These are people that need a little support, a little kindness and a little love. The website shares a bit of their story and gives you a deadline and an address to send your letter to. Hannah’s team receives, bundles and sends the love letters to the person who’s story they shared.
- Leave Love Letters. One of the things that got Hannah started was leaving random letters to strangers all over the place. This section on the site gives some great tips on how to do this thoughtfully, in a great section called “The Do’s, Yikes and Stop That Right Now’s” of love lettering. This idea is kind of like the anonymous Post-It Note campaigns, with a bit more time and energy.
- Start a Campus Chapter. This is really cool. If you want to bring something new to your school or community, Hannah has a team of coordinators who will help you set that up. Some really cool things happened for Hannah when she started leaving love letters around her college campus and she found that this is a great way to spread some extra kindness.
- Nominate someone to receive a Love Letter Bundle. Hannah’s team reads through submissions every week and chooses a few to post on the website for people to send love letters to. If chosen, you’ll find your story posted on their website and individuals from all over the world have the chance to mail love letters to the address you provide them with! You become the facilitator of your own Love Letter Bundle!
I love Hannah’s TED Talk and organization because I truly believe in the power of communication and kindness. I’ll be honest here – as a blogger and digital native, I mostly communicate online through social media, texting and emails (only if I REALLY have a lot to say). Something that Hannah talks about in her talk is the positive impact that writing a handwritten letter can have on someone and I totally agree. When I go to summer camp, there are no cell phones or computers for us to post, text or even email, so we were ‘forced’ to write letters to our family by hand. Personally, I love it because not only did I feel accomplished when I wrote letters to my family, but when I received the letters, I had a warm and fuzzy feeling inside knowing that my family sat down and wrote with a paper and a pen. The connection between us grew stronger because I knew that my parents held those letters and took the time and effort to write a letter. Hannah explains that when we write a text or email, there are so many things happening on the screen at the touch of our fingers so we can get distracted so easily when writing online. Through handwriting letters, there are no distractions. Just you, a paper, a pen and your feelings.
Hannah’s TED Talk has accumulated almost 2 million views to date and I am so excited to share this with you! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go write a love letter.