I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe. —Dalai Lama
There is something on the calendar for every day of the year, no matter where one lives or what one does. Someone is always celebrating something. For example, today, March 21, is Single Parent’s Day. I’m sure we all know a few single parents who could use a world of encouragement, or maybe a babysitter for three or four hours. Today is also Memory Day, Common Courtesy Day, World Down Syndrome Day, and French Bread Day. Just so you’ll be prepared, tomorrow is National Goof-Off Day; you may want to adjust your plans accordingly.
With so many different days of recognition, it is sometimes difficult to know which ones are truly important versus those that are just rather silly things to toss into a calendar somewhere. I’m not sure exactly what one is supposed to do with French Bread Day, for example, beyond the obvious: Have a baguette. However, there are some days when, especially in the realms of advertising and marketing, the opportunities are great as long as we don’t miss them.
Case in point: Today is Twitter’s 10-year anniversary. They’ve celebrated with this video full of moments when tweeting mattered.
Starting in 🇦🇺 on 3/21 and moving across the 🌍, we thank you for 10 incredible years.
— Twitter (@twitter) March 20, 2016
Celebrating the anniversary of a social media platform may not seem like all that big a deal, but be certain that any message sent with the #LoveTwitter hashtag is going to get thousands, and quite possibly millions of views. Attaching the hashtag to your tweet, which could include a link back to your website or a product page, has the same potential as a general piece of direct mail. And while we tend to think of tweets as time sensitive, it’s not unusual to get likes and retweets and click-throughs on tweets that are several months old. So, while it may seem on one level that celebrating Twitter’s birthday is a bit shallow, it can potentially be a powerful marketing tool.
At the same time, however, acknowledging special days also gives one the opportunity to align with global causes and charities as a way of showing involvement in one’s community and opens the door for making a broader impact. For example, today is also #HumanRightsDay around the world. Human rights represents a struggle that extends from the farthest reaches of the globe to our own backyard. Gender rights. Race issues. Immigration. Child labor. Hunger. Disease. Anything that involves people, any place where the playing field is not totally even, human rights comes into play.
Not only does participating in Human Rights Day allow others to see that you or your company cares about the condition of people around the world, not participating in such an event also says that one doesn’t care, which can develop into a PR nightmare. Show how diverse your workforce is. Highlight ways in which your company addresses matters related to human rights in a positive fashion. Even better, actually get your employees together and do something, such as such as organizing a clean water drive or volunteering at a homeless shelter as a demonstration of your commitment to human rights. Use Periscope or Snapchat to broadcast your activity so people can see you’re not just a lot of marketing hot air. Being in touch and participating in days like this is increasingly important in employee and customer retention. People need to know you’re not just out for a quick profit.
Then, you might also want to consider celebrating #WorldPoetryDay both on a personal and professional basis. World Poetry Day was established by UNESCO to, “to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.” Poetry is such an incredibly important part of how we communicate, how we express ourselves, that to not celebrate poetry is to ignore one of the most fundamental aspects of free speech. I especially love this quote from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO:
By paying tribute to the men and women whose only instrument is free speech, who imagine and act, UNESCO recognizes in poetry its value as a symbol of the human spirit’s creativity. By giving form and words to that which has none – such as the unfathomable beauty that surrounds us, the immense suffering and misery of the world – poetry contributes to the expansion of our common humanity, helping to increase its strength, solidarity, and self-awareness.
World Poetry Day is more than just a marketing opportunity. This is a time to celebrate the diversity of language and communication. Poetry is more than just the careful construction of verse, but a key element in the very construct of our civilization. To ignore poetry is itself a form of illiteracy. This is one of those days we should not only celebrate for ourselves, but encourage everyone around us to do so as well, not simply for the literary exercise, but for the betterment of our whole society.
Days like today are important. When we exist at a time where turmoil is ever present, where unrest is a daily reality, where tragedy stands waiting on every street corner in even the most quiet of neighborhoods, we need days like this where we can embrace something good, something positive. Days like today don’t require one to embrace a religious ideology or a political point of view. Days like today simply require us to be human, to embrace ourselves and each other as common survivors of a world in chaos.
We need days like today, you and I. Don’t miss out.