Ollie’s birthday – a beautiful Twitter storm

It is always amazing and wonderful to watch a positive social media storm. It shows the best in people that they want to do something positive to help someone who needs help. The volume of replies and messages shared in response to this are amazing.

On Thursday (29 June) Ollie’s dad sent a tweet asking for birthday messages for his son who was being bullied and about to turn 9. Here’s how the word spread:

Within a few hours, Twitter made a Moment of some of the replies including the England Football team, Stormzy and Russell Crowe. Thousands of non-famous people replied with their own birthday wishes and stories of how they put being bullied behind them. Messages have been sent from across the world and some other 9 year olds shared their own messages too.

In just over 24 hours, there have been over 33,000 likes and 14,000 RTs of the original tweet.

Ollie's dad's original tweet

It has been covered by the BBC, various newspapers and online channels. Twitter said that there had been 47k tweets. Following these recent weeks of bad news, I think we all needed something positive.

47k tweets say Twitter

But the real story is what it means to Ollie and his family who have understandably been overwhelmed. The messages from famous people and offers of special visits and merchandise will no doubt make his birthday. The messages of support from other parents and now grown-up people who were bullied will take longer to sink in. Hopefully these can help to rebuild their strength and self-esteem to stand up to the bullies.

Ollie’s dad had sent several tweets asking for help about how to document the response in order to share it with Ollie on his birthday (on 5 July).  To help I made a Moment of some of the famous people responses for them to show Ollie.

Twitter Moment

I really hope that someone can do the same for some of the supportive messages about bullying. There’s so much rich content there. Maybe a bullying charity could do something to document these and then help share this with other children and parents in similar situations?

Several charities responded with their own supportive messages including NSPCC and The Children’s Society.

If you haven’t seen it already, do take a look at the thread. It is Twitter at its best.

Update (on day 4): Ollie’s family have understandably been completely overwhelmed by the response. Christopher shared this personal message on Sunday saying thank you and asking for it now to stop so they can go back to being a normal family. He is asking people to donations to one of four charities including the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme if they want to do something positive as a result of reading the thread.

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