We can’t always control governments (and) politics, but what we can control is how we interact with each other, one person at a time, one smile at a time, one pair of pink socks at a time.
But what are pink socks, you ask? Well, the answer to that question is two-fold. Pink Socks are the name of a quirky pair of pink knee-high socks covered in black mustaches. Pinksocks is also a philosophy spread by a tribe of individuals who share a common school of thought: belief in an individual’s ability to bring about change in the world by simply spreading love and humanity through no-strings-attached gifting.
“Pinksocks aren’t a product. They’re always a gift, given as a gesture of love and kindness,” says Nick Adkins. “They’re a token, a reminder of when someone took the time to look into your eyes and say, ‘It’s good to see you,’ make a connection, and share a gift.”
The pinksocks movement materialized in 2015, but the concept manifested in 2010 after Adkins attended Burning Man, an event held in a temporary city constructed in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, geared towards art and community.
“So, here’s how the pinksocks movement began. I went to Burning Man for the first time in 2010 to disconnect. To unplug. I found 70 thousand people living in heart space without the construct of judgment or prejudice or fear.”
Every year the Burning Man Project creates Black Rock City, a temporary playa located in the middle of the dessert that, for a week, is home to thousands of individuals who share the same ideals reflected in the organization’s 10 principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation and Immediacy. The goal of the organization is to “lift the human spirit, address social problems, and inspire a sense of culture, community and civic engagement.”
Nick describes his first experience at Burning Man as “mind-blowing” and he found himself wondering if the concept could live beyond the week-long playa in the desert. Inspired by one of his favorite Black Rock City principles, gifting, the pinksocks movement began to formulate.
“My friend Andrew Richards and I gave away 100 pairs of pinksocks as we walked around a medical conference in Chicago in 2015. We were wearing pinksocks, and every time someone noticed them we’d stop, introduce ourselves, make a connection, and pull out a pair of pinksocks from our backpack to gift to them. At that conference, #pinksocks went viral on Twitter, and the movement was (accidentally) born.”
The pinksocks movement started in the healthcare community, and many of its wearers include prominent figures in both the medical and science communities. Eric Topol, world-renowned cardiologist, geneticist and digital medicine researcher was one of the first people to receive a pair of pink socks.
“I asked him if we could take a picture together with his pinksocks so I could tweet it,” Adkins divulges on his website. “He said yes, and then he retweeted it to his followers, and the next thing I knew people were coming up to me asking me what my story was—and if they could have some pinksocks.”
Nick and Andrew continued to attend medical conferences gifting pinksocks. In less than five years, the movement spread beyond healthcare, creating the pinksocks tribe which now includes more than 100 thousand people.
“The core message that’s on the label of the pinksocks – “the world is full of good when you believe it, you see it – keep doing that!” – resonated more strongly than I could have ever imagined. We established the Pinksocks Life Inc. non-profit to help sustain the movement that grew from the ground up. The nonprofit is 100% funded via donations and is a force-multiplier, supporting other public charities by amplifying their message on social platforms, especially Twitter,” shares Adkins.
Nick Adkins and his pinksocks crew will be in Wilmington, NC to attend the Cucalorus Festival scheduled to take place from November 13th through November 17th. Adkins will be the keynote speaker at the Connect Conference and will discuss humans’ need to connect in his keynote entitled “The Power of Connection.”
What should we expect from his keynote? “I wouldn’t recommend expecting anything – just be open, willing, and present to have the experience. We’re going to explore the magic of what happens when you give yourself the permission and the self-space to say YES. We’re going to remind ourselves of the power of connection, and that we’re all in this together,” says Adkins.
“I wake up each day and follow the pinksocks hashtag on Twitter, and I have my mind blown, seeing all the good things that people are doing around the world. It’s great seeing everyone celebrate each other and the things they are doing to make the world a better place. If there are one hundred thousand people around the world today who are in the pinksocks tribe who are each creating one, two, five, ten, fifty smiles each day, think of the exponential ripple effect of the good energy sent into the universe.”