Social media plays a major role in our lives today, and while most people are touched by it in one way or another, some find a way to break the norm and be truly creative. Here’s our list of 5 really unusual and awesome things people have done on social media:

Watering your plants

Botanicalls sells kits that let your plants remind you to water them. The setup relies on a pair of moisture probes that determine if the soil has enough water in it. When the moisture level goes down, a tweet goes out via your plant’s Twitter account asking you to water it!

@pothos became a veritable celebrity among plants on Twitter with nearly 4,000 followers:

Using Graph Search to Stop Crime

This might sound like the plot to Minority Report: Chicago police are using new technology to try and prevent future crimes. Using various elements of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the police worked with developers and a sociologist to develop a mapping strategy.

We don’t know if it’s working, but in a city where murders more than double the square footage of the city, something innovative was required. Using this new software, police are able to tell those involved in gang activity some frightening statistics about how much more likely they are to be killed than the average citizen — three to four hundred times. Another example of how social media can pack a powerful punch when it comes to public service and safety information.

Helping Kids Confront Bullies and Become Superheroes

Perhaps there is no more heart-warming, world-bettering way to use social media than to help a victim feel heard, loved and supported. Halsey Parkerson’s aunt came to his school on Thursday and overheard someone say to her nephew that he didn’t have any friends and that no one cared. Halsey told her it happened all the time.

Halsey’s aunt sent out a simple Facebook message, and on the next day, more than 100 people turned up at the school in about 50 cars to stand by Halsey. KATU News broadcast the moving demonstration. With a huge expression of support behind him, Halsey confronted his bully, who then apologized. Social media can provide a platform for the amplification of a message far bigger than any of us can on our own.

The same happened with Batkid, a child who battled leukemia for years before being granted his wish of becoming a superhero. Warning: tears are inevitable.

Preventing Veteran Suicides

Facebook has a suicide prevention initiative that in partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides support for veterans who need it.

Anyone who encounters a Facebook post or comment that is indicative of suicidal tendencies can report it at this page. If the person being reported is a veteran, Facebook wants you to mention it so that they can provide custom support.

Dispensing Pandas from a Vending Machine

Every Canadian associates Telus with cute animals. The telecom giant took advantage of their furry-friendly identity by loading up vending machines in a Vancouver mall with stuffed panda bears as part of their WWF-Canada Critter campaign.

People who came upon the unusually cute vending machine were asked to tweet Telus with the #HomeTweetHome hashtag along with a pin on the machine. The machine would then dispense a plush friend into their waiting arms, and Telus would commit a one dollar donation to Canada’s arm of the WWF.

Telus used their critter chums to not only participate in charity, but also increase brand awareness, get more followers, and engage their audience — more than 3,000 people at the mall participated in the campaign. This is definitely a lesson in marketing ingenuity.

Final Thoughts

Social media is a great equalizer. Whether you’re a large corporation, a small business or an individual, everyone has the opportunity to become visible on social media and do things that are creative, innovative, and in some cases, truly remarkable.