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Can These 6 Bill Gates-Endorsed Tweets Change Your Outlook On 2017?

Doubtful, but they gave the philanthropist hope in this dark time.

Can These 6 Bill Gates-Endorsed Tweets Change Your Outlook On 2017?
[Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images]

Bill Gates is a strong believer in Twitter negativity bias. “If you judge only by what people have been tweeting, 2017 was a terrible year,” he writes in a new post on the GatesNotes blog.

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That’s because the short dispatch service has become a go-to venue for breaking news, including “shootings, war, political strife, anger, insults, and worries about whether the world has taken a turn for the worse,” he writes. But there’s been a lot of good news dribbling out, too, and Gates wants to highlight that.

To do so, he’s compiled a list of his top six most optimistic tweets of 2017, which includes several personal posts from people–both the average and elite–accomplishing great things. Some come with their own feel-good hashtags to lead you down other positive threads.

The first tweet is from a first-generation college graduate, who is feeling hopeful (#amazingfeeling), with Gates adding that a college degree is a “proven ticket” to a better quality of life. There’s another with a message from Akinwumi Adesina, the president the African Development Bank after he won the 2017 World Food Prize for supporting the efforts of small farmers through increased credit and business counseling programs. “The World Food Prize gives me greater zeal to feed Africa and end hunger in our world. No resting until we succeed!” Adesina writes.

Others point to great strides in health and humanitarian efforts, like India’s battle for improved sanitation, and what Gates calls the “Vaccination Victory” against measles (the death toll has dropped by 80% since 2000, saving over 20 million lives, he adds). To be fair, the actual tweet about India’s health improvements is from a newspaper reviewing a Bollywood romantic comedy that uses the issue as a cheeky plot point. The film is called Toilet: A Love Story.

But even such absurdity has a point. Gates considers himself both a tech mogul billionaire and philanthropic cheerleader: When it comes to cause work, he often looks for unique ways to highlight successes that appear to be working. There’s another tweet that shows a picture of a kid with goggles reading a book underwater as part of an effort to make reading anywhere, anytime seem cool again (#extremereading). Gates also includes a tweet about the benefits of volunteering for those doing the service, not just the recipients.

Here’s the full list:

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1. #amazingfeeling

2. Dear John

3. Vaccination Victory

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4. The farmer’s minister

5. Doing good is good for you

6. #extremereading

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Read more about the rationale behind each pick here.

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About the author

Ben Paynter is a senior writer at Fast Company covering social impact, the future of philanthropy, and innovative food companies. His work has appeared in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the New York Times, among other places.

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