District 833 high schools launch 'Nice Words' Twitter accountsEast Ridge, Woodbury and Park high schools have all launched Twitter accounts, called “Nice Words,” which act as an outlet for students to spread positivity.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Time and time again high school students hear the importance of being nice and saying nice things.
Now, students from all three of District 833’s high schools have decided to lead by example.
“Students need to really understand how powerful they can be as a united student body,” East Ridge Assistant Principal Matt Kraft said. “Students have the ability to start a movement.
“Human nature sometimes shows that we’re better followers than leaders and if there is a positive movement out there that makes it easy to follow then that has the ability to positively change the school.”
The ERHS Nice Words account, ERHSnicewords, launched in late August and already has 626 followers.
“I tweet to whoever is feeling down in hopes of helping them feel better,” East Ridge Nice Words founder Tyler McKeever said.
The WHS Nice Words account, nice_whs, launched two weeks ago and already has 186 followers.
The Park Nice Words account, WolfpackNice, has 272 followers.
Nice Words accounts work by students “following” the account, then the account supervisors will say nice things about their “followers” based on tweets. “Followers” can retweet nice comments.
“When you’re walking down the hallway and someone says something nice to you, compliments you, says hi to you, they understand how good that made them feel and they want to pass that on,” Kraft said. “It’s contagious.”
ERHS Nice Words
ERHS Nice Words launched on Aug. 18 thanks to the initiative of McKeever.
McKeever, an East Ridge junior, was at a friend’s house when he first heard about the growing popularity of Nice Words accounts – there are accounts in Osseo and Albertville.
“I just thought I could do it for my school,” he said. “I’ve actually dealt a lot with bullying for my religious beliefs and it wasn’t really what I wanted so I thought I could change the school a little bit if I stepped forward and made this – I knew people would jump on it.”
McKeever said he thought Twitter was the best place to start a movement like this.
“When I go on my regular Twitter account it’s all drama – it’s just negative,” he said. “I figured on this one I could make it all positive and change people’s outlooks and how they view things – life and relationships.”
McKeever said he tries to go onto the account 20-30 times per day.
He said the goal of ERHS Nice Words is to increase positivity and decrease negativity online and in the school.
“I feel that the bigger we get it, the more it can change,” he said. “I’ve already heard that the account has really opened their eyes to how special people actually are and that they belong here.”
McKeever said he is trying to spread the word about ERHS Nice Words by advertising it in the school through morning announcements and notes on students’ lockers.
“I don’t want to leave anyone out,” he said. “I want everyone to feel that they can be a part of it.”
WHS Nice Words
Shortly after the launch of ERHS Nice Words, WHS and PHS decided to launch their own Nice Words accounts.
The WHS Nice Words monitor has chosen to remain anonymous and asked to be referred to as “nice_whs,” the Twitter account handle.
“I don’t really want people knowing who I am,” nice_whs said. “I want to remain anonymous because I want it to be focused on them, not me.
“Plus, it could be anyone in the school saying nice things to them – if you know who it is, it’s not as special.”
Nice_whs said the goal of the account is to help students have a better, more positive day.
“I know that if it was me on the other side, I would want the exact same thing,” nice_whs said. “Even the smallest things can help make a difference with people.
“There’s so much negativity that goes on with social media networks and I thought if I could make just a small difference.”
Nice_whs posts to the Twitter account about 20 times per day.
“The account wouldn’t really be anything without our followers,” nice_whs said. “I want people to start feeling better about themselves and focusing on the positive.”
McKeever and nice_whs both said they hope to grow the Nice Words accounts to include all District 833 students.
“You’re always going to have people that are going to be negative, I understand that, but if you can focus on positive hopefully that will spread,” nice_whs said. “Even though this is small, it can make a huge impact on people.”
“If everyone who has a Twitter account can follow it, and it gets around the entire school,” McKeever said, “I think it can eliminate all bullying – I seriously think it can.”