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Spread a little sunshine online

Sunfull Movement expands nationwide campaign, with more than 3.5 million positive comments having been posted

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Published : 2012-12-14 20:25
Updated : 2012-12-14 20:25

The Sunfull Movement was established in 2007 by Konkuk University professor Min Byoung-chul to eradicate hateful online comments by encouraging online users to post encouraging replies, or “Sunfull,” instead.

The term “Sunfull” originated from “full of sunshine,” meaning a “cyberspace filled with sunshine.” In this vein, the sunflower was chosen as the symbol of the movement, Min said.

Min reiterated the key principles that underlie the Sunfull movement: tell only the truth, respect others, and considering that, write freely. 
Min Byoung-chul (sixth from left) and lawmakers join the launch ceremony for the Sunfull Political Committee and the celebration of the Sunfull Day at the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 2. (Sunfull Movement)

The movement started from Min’s class where he asked his students to leave positive online comments. It has expanded to a nationwide campaign in which more than 4,000 schools and 100 organizations participate. As of Dec. 10, about 3.5 million positive comments have been posted on the official website of the Sunfull movement.

According to a survey of 1,081 Korean students, the proportion of students who often leave vicious comments on the Internet dropped from 25.2 percent to 3.1 percent after participating in the Sunfull movement. In a separate survey of 1,408 students, 50 percent of the respondents said the movement led them to use more polite expressions on the Internet and, by extension, reduce school violence.

In line with the movement for students, Min is planning a unique campaign called “Sunfull Dance.” Sunfull Dance was initially devised to give courage to a middle school student who was paralyzed in a car accident. Min explained that the dance represents the good intentions of positive comments in a more active way.

Min said that students from Jeongwang High School in Gwangju, who produced a Sunfull Dance video, and professional choreographers are now working hard to refine the dance, aiming to present it this month. “We intend to scale this up to the whole country early next year,” he added.

Sunfull Movement, however, has not been limited to schools. Back in 2008, Min shifted his attention toward the victims of China’s Sichuan earthquake, and launched a campaign promoting people to leave positive and encouraging comments for those who hit by the disaster.

Min also arranged a campaign to send positive messages to Japanese people who suffered from the lethal earthquake and tsunami early last year.

In recognition of his continued efforts to fight cyber-bullying, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently appointed Min as the Ambassador for Cyber Public Diplomacy. Min said, “As the Sunfull Movement is rooted in Koreans’ caring and encouraging culture, I will do my best to introduce the movement in China, Japan and the United States to improve mutual relations and to minimize unnecessary conflicts between Internet users.”

Targeting foreign online users, on Monday, Min nominated Chinese idol group, Feeling Girls, and Korean-American popera singer Isabel Cho ― the youngest prima donna in the history of San Francisco Opera Company ― as Sunfull Global Goodwill Ambassadors who will help spread the movement outside of Korea.

Min showed his confidence that varied globalization efforts of the Sunfull movement would promote interest from foreign countries in the near future. He said that he hopes the number of positive online comments posted will exceed 1 billion thanks to the enthusiastic participation from outside the country.

Internet users can participate in the movement by leaving positive and logically persuasive comments on the Internet after reading articles or blog postings. After that, they should copy the comments and the website’s address and paste them on the official website of the Sunfull Movement (www.sunfull.or.kr).

By Yoon Sung-won, Intern Reporter
(swyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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