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Year two of #Kristofize -- honoring Nicholas Kristof

Last year, a group of fans created an impromptu birthday tribute to Nick Kristof, the crusading New York Times columnist. Time for the 2013 version.

Just some of the thousands of people around the world who changed their names (not their handles) on Twitter in honor of Nick Kristof's birthday last year.

It's time once again for #Kristofize, a global salute to Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof), the crusading New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. It's his birthday today, and all this week you can help pay tribute to him and do a little bit of what he does so well: bring attention to important causes around the world. 

All you have to do is add an "of" to your last name on any social-media site you like (on Twitter, don't change your handle, just your name; further instructions below for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+).

First, some background on Kristof's work, quoting from my post last year about #Kristofize:

Whether he's saving girls from brothels in Cambodia, bringing attention to the troubles in Darfur, or talking about the environment in a serious-yet-accessible way, Kristof has done more than any journalist in memory to prod, cajole -- and, yes, scare -- us into helping "change the world" (as he told Willamette University students on Monday in his home state of Oregon).

This year, Kristof won the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In introducing him, Alex S. Jones, Shorenstein's director, said Kristof has done more to change the world than any other journalist of our time (forward to 0:49:20 in the video below, and listen to Kristof talk about his work.

Kristof's Twitter profile photo

Along the way, Kristof is creating a new kind of journalism by using social-media tools to tells stories, to amplify his reporting, and to connect with his audience. That audience looks like this (with last year's numbers in parenthesis):

He has also built up a big audience on his Google+ account, crossing 700,000 connections. I love his bio on G+: "I'm a print dinosaur, trying to evolve into a new media maven."

It's clear he needs to work on his Instagram -- just 10 photos so far (though it has the highest percentage of international do-gooder celebrities of any Instagram feed).

Given all his social-media activity, it's easy to forget that his biggest, most consistent audience is made up of the millions of readers of his twice-a-week NYT column and his occasional "On the Ground" blog.

Here's some of what happened during last year's Kristofize, which we used to bring attention to three nonprofits he often talks about: Amnesty International Ladis Kristof Activist Fellowship | CAREpackage.org | Heifer International (this year's nonprofit suggestions are below.)

The nonprofits were grateful for the attention:

Thousands of folks around the world added the "-of" to their name -- see the graphic at the top of the post; most were human, some were not:

There was some confusion about what was going on:

Kristof himself was surprised by the tribute:

And at least one person wasn't happy about all the Kristofizing:

I gave a TEDxNYED talk that was in part about #Kristofize, and Mo Ademo (@OPride) created a terrific Storify about #Kristofize 2012.

So, here's how you can participate this year -- between now and Friday, May 3, 2013:

On Twitter:

Between now and Friday, May 3, 2013, please change your Twitter FULL NAME (not your handle/username) by adding "of" at the end of your last name. If your last name already has an "of" on it, add another at the end.

How to do this:

a. Log in to Twitter.com and visit your Settings page from the drop-down menu in the top right corner.

b. On the left, find the Profile tab or go directly to https://twitter.com/settings/profile

c. Under Name, add an "of" to your name. There's a limit of 20 characters in that field, so you may need to play around with it. The main thing is to get the "of" into the end of your last name.

d. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

e. Leave it like that through May 3. And then you can switch back. As you know from Facebook birthdays, the exact date is less important than wishing someone well around his or her birthday.

f. Tweet about this with #Kristofize + @nickkristof and a specific link to this post, http://bit.ly/kristofize

Sample tweets: In honor of @NickKristof's birthday, I added an "of" to my full name on Twitter. You can, too: http://bit.ly/kristofize2013 #kristofize

It's @NickKristof's birthday; time to #Kristofize - add an "of" to your name on Twitter: http://bit.ly/kristofize2013 #kristofize

I'll compile stats to see how much traction this gets. You must use the hashtags and handle above for this campaign to register.

ON Facebook, Instagram, or Google+: Write your name, Kristofized (i.e., add "of" to the end of your last name) on a piece of paper, a white board, or anything similar, and take a picture. Post the photo on Facebook and say something like: In honor of Nick Kristof's birthday, I've added an "of" to my name. Learn about the Kristofize project at http://bit.ly/kristofize2013

Please note: The Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Facebook stuff are just cosmetic actions -- our way of saying "Happy Birthday, Nick." If you really want to help his mission, then consider connecting with the Half the Sky Movement, named for the amazing book, "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," that Kristof wrote with his wife (and fellow Pulitzer winner) Sheryl WuDunn (@WuDunn). It was made into a major PBS series you can see a trailer of at HalfTheSkyMovement.org.

Here's more you can do to support Nick's causes:

  • Play the Half The Sky Facebook game and invite your friends to join. Half the Sky Movement: The Game has 700,000 players so far, leading to 112,000 books handed out to kids and $72,000 in critical surgery for the needy. You can also like the fan page on Facebook.
  • Make a donation in honor of Kristof (and mention it's for his birthday). Here are three causes he advocates for: Edna Adan, whose hospital has a maternal mortality rate one fourth of Somaliland's average. Her goal is to train 1,000 midwives.| Urmi Basu's New Light, which combats forced prostitution by providing education to the children of sex workers in Kolkata's red light district. | Amnesty International's Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship, which expands the legacy of Kristof's father, and honors the elder Kristof's lifelong commitment to human rights.

OK, let's go out and Kristofize! If you prefer to just send me relevant photos we can share in a future post, e-mail sree at sree dot net.

[If you're wondering about the title of the book, it comes from a Chinese proverb that says women hold up half the sky. You can hear Kristof and WuDunn talk eloquently about how we all can help the world's women in an October 2009 BlogTalkRadio Webcast that I helped produce for the South Asian Journalists Association. As you will see, back then, his Twitter handle was @NYTimesKristof.]

One last thought. This whole thing started because of the typo you see below -- it was a sign printed for a conference I attended: