Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reflections on #run3rd

Sean Astin @SeanAstin

For over a year, people have been making very unique, very special and often very personal “Dedications” for their loved ones, using Twitter and the #run3rd hashtag as a vehicle. But now, the hashtag #run3rd has begun to transcend the medium that gave it life. Whether it’s written with a sharpie on someone’s arm or leg or printed on a sign pinned to a runner’s shirt, the hash tag #run3rd has become an emblem of sorts.

I’ve grown quite fond of the look of it as an object in its own right. It sounds silly, but I genuinely like the way the # sign sets it off and the letters r-u-n and r-d surround the always mystical and numerologically curious 3. The #run3rd silhouette is unique, distinctive, even beautiful. When it’s embossed on a hat or glimpsed streaming on someone’s ‘mentions’ strand, #run3rd has become a beacon. Like all symbols that humans use to convey meaning, #run3rd instantly evokes from those in the know, a specific emotional pulse.

Here’s a test. Take a quick look at the hashtag: #run3rd. While it is unassuming, it clearly means something real and positive. The letters alone would be too bland and random to grab the eye, but together in this way, they are somehow confident in their meaning. In fact, #run3rd has it’s own very distinct identity. For me, #run3rd is synonymous with hope, caring for others and perhaps even selfish pride in our own capacity for empathy.

Beyond these profound qualities and embedded in the #run3rd iconography is an expectation of the addressee about the “Dedication.” These heartfelt requests were first directed at me, personally of course, but then organically expanded to include any receivers of the #run3rd “Prayers” if you will. That is to say that, anyone who read the #run3rd twitter strand and decided to reflect on, think about, respond to or even include the wishes, dreams and requests in some way, even for a moment, became owners of the dignity and purpose of the messages.

Formally, #run3rd Team Captains and loyal well wishers (be they runners or no) and ultimately all who accept the “Dedications” on some level into their hearts as they head out of doors are the mortar that bind these determined and righteous hashtag characters together.

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