Kicking off 2008 with a themeword

#themewordAt Lifecamp on Monday, (incidentally held at Tantek’s Port Zero) we had a session where the small group of us brainstormed what Erica Douglass called “theme words” that might help us focus our goals for 2008.

Erica’s theme word for 2008 is “connect”. Mine is “” (in all its meanings). Alex Hillman’s is “growth”.

Now, this is a pretty simple exercise and a good way to kick off the New Year. What’s most interesting about this, however, is that we were able to extend participation by constructing a hashtag-based meme on Twitter. It started simply enough:

Twitter / Mr Messina: My thematic word for 2008: ...

The response that has followed has been pretty incredible, and demonstrates the value of using community-driven hashtags to both generate and (using

Now, you obviously don’t have to use Twitter to participate; you can simply blog your own themeword and tag it with “themeword” or you could just write it down for yourself, and check back in at the end of the year and reflect on whether you stuck to your theme.

Either way, I’m already starting to see how “conduct” is a good word for me in 2008! What’s yours?

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

15 thoughts on “Kicking off 2008 with a themeword”

  1. I was watching / filtering in terms of interactivity. E.g. PhotoMatt’s was “enable”. (IIRC mine was “participation”.)

    This might sound like over-kill nonsense, but: do we have the tools to do multivariate analysis on words/terms? (Lord knows we were doing discourse analysis for years before SemWeb was even coined as a phrase.)

  2. Techie question, but any guess why mine did not get picked up?

    Perhaps the first character shouldn’t be the ‘#’?

    Also very interesting to see the optimism in the answers. Considering the national forecast for wonky financial markets and global expectations of ongoing war without resolve.

    My runner-up themeword was ‘rollercoaster’


  3. @Ted:

    There are a couple of reasons we may have missed it. First we have to manually turn on notifications for each person that follows the hashtags bot. So we may have been slow on turning that on for you and missed your tweet.

    The other issue is a technical problem I was having with XMPP for the past week. XMPP is the protocol used for jabber clients (i.e. google talk). The hashtags bot is basically a glorified XMPP client. Anyhow, I think I have it tackled with a nasty hack I am too embarrassed to go into detail about. Regardless I have noticed we are not missing tweets anymore like we were last week. The real solution will be to make a jabber server…but that is a little down the line. After all, I have a day job as well. This is just a fun side project right now 🙂

    All that to say…sorry! Hopefully we won’t missing anything else from you.

  4. Aaron,

    Well if I had just read, you need to follow hashtags to be found I wouldn’t have had to ask my silly question. I’m following now.

    Keep up the good work. It’s great.

  5. Not at all related to the themeword post, you and I were just reading each other’s blogs at the same time. I went to your post about scraping and the like, at the same time you left that comment. Weird. : )

    Oh, and good post!

    If I only get ONE word, I’ll go with #themeword farm.

  6. Hi Chris, thanks for sharing this themeword idea. It piqued my interest when I read about it, but I never planned to choose one and share it. However, the other night, the perfect word came to me, and it has helped me to crystallise what I plan to achieve in the coming year. I’ve blogged about it here. Thanks again!

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