The Power of the #EndTheStigma Badges 

Big. Bold. Thought provoking. The #EndTheStigma badges have all the characteristics of a the perfect viral message. And although I’m still too chicken to share all of the badges that I identify with on my Facebook wall, I’m super psyched about it.

Here’s why I think the badges are brilliant:

  1. They’re beautiful, but in a simple, replicable way. Most of the badges have the same white  font and a clean, simple background. It’s an example of good branding at its finest.
  2. There’s something joyful about them even though they delve into some dark subject matter. They all bright use bold colors that say, “I have an illness, and I’m not even remotely ashamed of it!”
  3. They call it what it is. With these badges, it’s not “I can be pretty shy sometimes.” It’s “I have Social Anxiety.” The language is concise and decisive.
  4. They’re diverse, including badges for people people of all abilities and disabilities. Just about anyone could find a couple of badges that fit them perfectly.
  5. They’re constantly making new badges at the request of their fans. Got a condition that doesn’t have a badge yet? Just shoot them a message, and they’ll probably make one for you soon.

Christine’s Spoon Theory gave the invisible illness community a unifying symbol, and the #EndTheStigma movement gave that group a chance to go viral. And while many would argue that online movements only have a limited potential to trigger real world social change, I disagree. The Washington Post wrote up a really great article about 10 Twitter hashtags that switched the script on social issues, like #BlackLivesMatter, #GivingTuesday, and #IceBucketChallenge. I feel optimistic that the online conversations triggered by #EndTheStigma will have a ripple effect through social networks that will translate into a real world cultural shift.

How do you feel about #EndTheStigma? Have you shared your chronic illness story with your social circle?

If you’re curious, here’s my badges! Now if only I could work up the courage to share these on my personal Facebook page as well… I guess this is a start. #YouAreNotAlone

Image Credit: End The Stigma Badges Facebook Page 

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