Your voice is stronger than you think.
This is especially true in this time of Coronavirus, when people are yearning for meaning. In an age of social distancing, we long to be socially connected. We want to plug into something greater than ourselves.
Several weeks ago, we launched our CoCo website, to help the world manage this crisis with helpful, truthful messages that anyone can use (Coronavirus + Communication = CoCo).
How do we measure success? By measuring messages.
We’re measuring which messages are going viral (or as we like to say, “going antiviral“). So we run daily reports to see which of our CoCo hashtags are getting passed along by the general public on Twitter:
Our #1 hashtag is #HealthcareHeroes. “Wow, you came up with that tag?” people have asked us. Well, yes. But so did other people, simultaneously. We didn’t organize it; it just happened. That’s the point: we’re trying to develop communication as a human species.
This requires some explanation, because it will blow your mind.
1) Humans have a kind of “hive mind” that transcends any one mind. The virus sees us as one human organism, and that’s exactly what we are. We’re like bees. We’re the Borg, but nicer. We have a kind of “shared mind” that is reflected in things like hashtags, which are “concepts” around which we communicate.
2) Good ideas will naturally arise from multiple places simultaneously. We’re not used to thinking this way, because we’re not used to thinking like a virus. We talk about “my idea,” like somehow we own ideas, even though a good idea starts to spread as soon as you communicate it to someone else. (Like a virus.)
3) Good ideas pack a lot of information into a short message. Take #HealthcareHeroes, which packs a lot of meaning into four syllables:
- We have to support our healthcare workers
- Healthcare workers are worthy of our respect
- We need to #SlowTheSpread so we can give our healthcare system a fighting chance
…and so on. All that is inferred, or communicated “behind the scenes,” when people see that hashtag.
Viruses are enormous strings of encoded information, wrapped up in one long DNA or RNA strand. Hashtags are like an antivirus: lots of information encoded into one catchy catchphrase.
4) Good hashtags are intuitive. You don’t need anyone to explain what #HealthcareHeroes means: you just get it. Even a child gets it (and loves it). It just makes sense. That makes it more viral, more sticky.
5) Good hashtags ignite a movement. Now that we’ve spent so much time talking about #HealthcareHeroes, you’re more likely to tag something #HealthcareHeroes yourself. Maybe you start using #HealthcareHeroes in everyday email. Consider these two sentences:
My daughter is working to sew 100 masks to support our healthcare heroes.
My daughter is working to sew 100 masks to support our #HealthcareHeroes.
The first one is a sentence. The second one is a movement.
The hashtag communicates you’re part of something that’s catching on. It’s a wave. Even if it feels weird to write like this in everyday language (emails, blogs, texts), it’s #WorthIt when you really want to make something land.
Here are the top hashtags by mentions. What’s at the top of the list? #COCO!
We see this as incredibly encouraging. True, #coco is the name of an old Disney movie. It’s also used by lovers of hot chocolate. But the majority are using #coco as we’ve intended it: to promote the CoCo movement.
All this in less than a month. Think what another month will bring. And another. And another.
Your voice is stronger than you think.
5 Business Best Practices During the Coronacrisis:
> Realize that your voice is stronger than you think. Use it.
> Consider following “trending hashtags” in your industry. Use them.
> Experiment with creating hashtags to communicate important concepts. Have fun.
> Use more hashtags in your everyday writing. (It keeps you young.)
> Spend 10% of your time helping others.