Last year at this time, I was fairly new to social media and in awe of its mass mobilization potential. To see an idea spread across the world in real time is pretty amazing, but things like that happen here every day. When an event occurs that affects people on a universal scale, pay attention to social media. Sure, there are some people here who could give a rat's ass about anything that doesn't directly affect their well-insulated ego cocoons, but most of us use social media as a way to connect and share with other people who make us feel like we don't have to carry life's burdens alone. It's reassuring to know we're flying through space on this rock with human beings who actually care about each other.
Then it occurred to me that just as with the power of good, so too could social media be used for the power of evil. And I imagined how Hitler might have mobilized masses this space. After all, propaganda is just communications. Just words.
And so it was a year ago I had the idea to test the power of words in social media. Or rather, to test the power of one word – Love. Because we connect with people in here through words (primarily), I thought how wonderful it would be to test whether one little word with such universal reach could catch fire in this space. It did.
With the help of a few very important people who believe in the power of love and the power of social media, last April 4th, #ILoveYou was a top trending topic on Twitter, made it into usatoday.com and increased traffic on this blog from about 1,000 views a week to more than 70,000 in one day. Most importantly, for one day last year people were mentioning, posting and reading one word more than any other – Love.
And what's wrong with that?
In the weeks leading up to this year's I Love You day, this Sunday, April 4, 2010, I thought a lot about what I could possibly write here that explained what we are doing any better than last year's post. But I can't. So I implore you to read last year's post and comments to get an idea of what this is all about. If you know me, you know I'm not the most outwardly lovable guy. But you also know that I believe in the power of words to transform, change, shift and move people toward ideas. I can't think of one negative iteration of the idea of the word love. The beauty is that it means something different to everyone. And it's all good.
So if you do one good thing this year, commit to doing it on April 4th by posting #ILoveYou once in one of your social media streams. We chose the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for obvious reasons. The fact that so many people around the world will happen to be celebrating peace on that day for other reasons, is pure coincidence. If you believe in that sort of thing.
Thank you. And on Sunday, April 4th…I Love You.
#iloveyouday is a wide-open global communications initiative that is owned by no one. It does have a few chief instigators, however. Please follow, engage and thank Staci J Shelton, Charlie Fern, Molly Block and Danny Brown for helping spread the good word. Also, please follow @ILoveYouDay on Twitter, and become a fan of Love on Facebook. And thank you for caring about each other.