Week in Sparks: Symbols of Change

When we talk about creating change, we often talk in metaphors, symbolism, and slogans. Symbolic rhetoric has been a mighty weapon in cause-based storytelling since the beginning of time, long leveraged by the great orators in history from Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela to President Obama. Symbolic gestures and metaphorical rhetoric evoke emotion, help people remember things, and can be powerful tools towards tangible change. And in the age of social media, metaphors and symbols have the potential to spread worldwide almost instantly.

This week was #InternationalDayofPeace and across the Internet, debates raged about the “right” way to protest, spurred by one quiet gesture from 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick. While this blog isn’t the space to debate issues, we couldn’t help but notice common themes in how cause-motivated organizations and individuals disseminate their messages—The language they use, the tactics they employ on social media, and the feelings they inspire. Whether it’s linking arms, kissing for peace, kneeling or standing for change, here are the cause-based Sparks that stirred something in us this week and showed us again how powerful words and a well-placed # sign can be.

Social Media Moment of the Week: #MyKiss4Peace

In honor of #InternationalDayofPeace this week, founder of #PeaceOneDay Jeremy Gilley invited the world to share a smooching selfie for peace and explained the campaign in this Spark Page. See the incredible results by following the #MyKiss4Peace feed.

Linking Arms to #BuildaBridge

The NFL is at the center of a huge debate about how to protest and Spark’s own Brian Nemhauser, a well-known football blogger, joined the conversation with a visual Page embedded in his blog showcasing powerful images of Seahawks players linking arms during the National Anthem. For Brian and many players, that gesture was a more fitting one than taking a knee during the anthem. Whatever gesture speaks to you, we can all agree it’s awesome seeing those with big voices making noise for those who can’t be heard.

Something Is Not like the Other

@MichaelMapes juxtaposes famous quotes from influential leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela against statements made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. In the heat of political discord, this animated video doesn’t condemn or name-call or espouse belief. However, it does force watchers to compare one presidential hopeful’s charged rhetoric with the great peacemakers of the world.

The Power of Stories

As this call for submissions for a literary magazine notes, “We grow up and are conditioned by the stories we read as children and retell as adults.” But if certain groups are under-represented in the stories we hear and tell, what does that do for their identity? RethinkingKidLit.com seeks to change the stories by asking children’s book authors, librarians, and scholars to reframe children’s literature in a more inclusive way. The next edition focuses on the theme of #blacklivesmatters and the digital,interactive literary journal is accepting submissions until November 1.

The Power of Imagery

Speaking of symbols, independent journalist focused on Nigerian issues Kayode Ogundamisi shared this moving visual journal by storyteller/photographer Hamza Ajijola that captures a powerful symbol of human resilience: 2600 displaced persons in their best dress joyfully gathering in a place that represents destruction. How powerful that a world a way, we can feel as if we’re right there…and that is how stories inspire empathy that becomes the catalyst for change

Featured photo by Hamza Ajijola._

What up new section!!! Starting this week, we’re using this space to share the important, newsy items to help you stay informed on the ever-changing social media landscape. From innovations in social media and technology to interesting conferences and meet-ups, here are the links you shouldn’t miss this week:

Take professional-looking photos with Apple’s new Portrait mode. –Mashable

The ultimate virtual conference for marketers, by marketers. –Social Media Examiner

Pinterest debuts video ads. –Forbes