Ready to Start a World Holiday? Identify how people can engage with the thing.

How to build a community around donuts, patterns, walking plants to work and other nonsense.

Starting a global holiday is really not that difficult. It only requires a bit of understanding about subcultures and what drives strangers to connect around an idea on social media.

This is the second in a series I’m writing about starting your own world holiday. These posts are based on the ideas and approaches I’ve tested in launching my own global holiday, #WorldTessellationDay.

It still sounds bratty to write that, by the way. You don’t just have your own world holiday, even if it was your idea. That’s not the point. The point is to get strangers interacting over something awesome.

If you missed the first part, please go right now to:

Want to start a world holiday? Begin with WHY.

So assuming you’ve identified WHY anybody should care about your world holiday, you are now ready to identify what it is you will call this holiday. Holidays abound, for causes, for foods, for activities, for sports, for familial roles, to mark great moments in history, to mark silly moments in history. Really there is no limit to the human power to celebrate something awesome.

If you have an idea for a world holiday, you need to connect with what is awesome about it to rally people to your global party.

Here are some great questions to ask yourself:

1. What is the social-media friendly thing complete strangers are going to rally around? Do a little research.

People love to look at patterns. Instagram currently has 7.4 million posts using the hashtag #pattern, but only 21,000 with #tessellation. That’s actually a good thing. Love of tessellation is a subculture of people who love pattern. What I take away from that is that there are lots of people who love pattern who don’t even know about tessellations. (Sure, all tessellations are patterns but not all patterns are tessellations).  This gives fuel to the holiday, because there is a need.

So for #WorldTessellationDay, the need is not just to celebrate tessellation, but to build awareness about tessellations as sources of visual joy and mathematical fun.

2. What is the visual image you will attach to this world holiday? In other words, what can other people post that’s related to your world holiday?

To fully engage with your holiday, people on the Internet need some kind of way of connecting to it and depicting it visually. It needs to be easy to do to get a high level of engagement. Thus, #MakeYourOwnTessellationDay is going to cut out a lot of people who either don’t know how or don’t have the time, while #NationalDonutDay is pretty much everyone’s favorite holiday because it is easy and delicious to participate in. Make it easy, make it fun.

3. What is the broadest, most inclusive way you can name your holiday?

The international fervor for tessellation is high, much more so than just the American fervor, hence I chose #WorldTessellationDay instead of #NationalTessellationDay. You alone can decide how big you want to blog up your holiday, but understand that international audience works differently than national audiences.

4. Are there businesses or causes associated with the thing you are celebrating?

This isn’t a necessity — maybe there are some businesses profiting off of “Take Your Plant to Work Day,” I don’t know — but it helps if you know businesses will be able to engage with your holiday. For World Tessellation Day, you need to get creative. There are indeed businesses that use tessellation art in their logos or products, but far more exciting to me are all of the businesses who have tiled tessellations in their entries, bathrooms or other spaces.

5. Who are the groups and stakeholders who might rally around this holiday?

Make a list of the possible groups or psychographic profiles of people who might love your holiday. For me, that was math educators, artists, pattern designers and Danica McKellar. I could write a whole book on the silly things I’ve done to get on Danica McKellar’s radar.

5. Make a list of possible ways to celebrate and find someone ELSE who will post them.

This one’s easy. Just sit down for an hour and list 100 ways you might celebrate your holiday. Take the best of these and guest post them on a friend’s website, like this.

6. Create your own hashtag

That’s about the easiest thing there is. But: Never forget that people can’t spell. They certainly can’t spell tessellation. So be prepared. Shorter is better (sorry, mine’s super long, it’s a problem).

Ok, so you’ve identified the thing, you’ve named it, you’ve identified what is awesome about it, you’ve thought about the people who might love the thing, you’ve listed some audience stakeholders, you’ve brainstormed how to celebrate the holiday, and you’ve created a hashtag. Next, you will be picking a date and spreading the word. Stay tuned!

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