KelleyTeachers often talk about the teachable moment: an unplanned opportunity when a student is   particularly open and responsive to a new idea. Thanks to the immediacy and ubiquity of social media, organizations can take advantage of the reachable moment: an unplanned opportunity to use an event to raise awareness by tapping into grassroots support. 

When I was planning a recent social media workshop, I didn’t know the organization I was working with would soon defend and trend by recognizing the power of a popular hashtag. 

In the 2016 Miss American pageant, Miss Colorado, Kelly Johnson, performed a monologue on her profession of nursing. The next day, hosts on the ABC talk show The View mocked her for wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope” as part of her costume. Nurses were quick to respond.

The American Nurses Association saw this as an opportunity to make lemonade from a lemon.  Hashtags #shareyourstethoscope and #showmeyourstethoscope blew up on Twitter, exceeding 2 million tweets. A Facebook page dedicated to the response grew to over 750,000 likes in just a few days. Instagram photos and YouTube videos of nurses wearing stethoscopes appeared en masse. From across the country, people expressed their appreciation for nurses.

The stethoscope visual made it easy for people to participate on social media. By posting, tweeting and retweeting spontaneous support for nurses, citizens helped direct the public to more information highlighting the critical role nurses play in healthcare.

Did you know that 1% of America are nurses? That’s right, 3.4 million registered nurses in this country. They are the keystone of our healthcare system, at the patient’s bedside and caring for our country. They are a national treasure.

I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it.

– Clara Barton