Can Symbols Create Communities?

Symbols and artifacts are all around us and are ingrained into our everyday lives. Symbols like the swastika have the power to evoke hatred and fear. Symbols like doves and the peace sign have the power to evoke unity and belonging. Symbols don’t have to be political to evoke emotions, either. Think about your favorite sports team and what their stadium looks like on a typical Sunday afternoon. If you see someone wearing a jersey with the opposing team’s emblem on it, you’ll know that they aren’t rooting for what you’re rooting for. The people wearing the jerseys and hats that have your favorite team’s emblem on them show you that you’re surrounded by fans with interests similar to your own. 

We were created for community and symbols, graphics, and icons that allow us to create that community for ourselves. Recognizing something that you relate to, in another person, allows people who may not come from the same background to connect with each other. That need for community transcends physical boundaries. What we share on social media and websites has the same impact on our psyche as a material object.

“Symbols serve as a reminder of who we are and what we believe.” - Simon Sinek 

This is why earning and sharing digital badges is so important to identity and representation. Showing the world that you’ve learned something and then shared it with others who may have a similar interest to you is so compelling. You may not share the same religion or political views, but learning new skills and ideas binds us together. The digital badge, the graphical representation of the achievement you’ve earned, can be instantly recognizable regardless of who earned it or what they’re going to use their new skill to do. 

The perfect example of this sentiment is through the National Honor Society. “Digital credentials are allowing our earners to connect with other members across the globe, whose relationships were previously only with their local chapter,” says Todd Laudino, Senior Manager, National Honor Societies. “As our organization builds on a full century of membership, we want to connect our future earners with a lasting symbol of their shared experience. We hope that this will unite our earners across distance and time, creating a network of alumni with the ability to empower and uplift each other.” 

If you want to build a community that transcends geography, genres, and generations, it’s time to start issuing digital badges now.  Let us show you how. 

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By Patricia Diaz