Table Of Contents

    Experience #100HappyDays live at the upcoming art exhibition, Hashtags Unplugged in New York. Get Tickets

    Day 0

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    The Story

    Day Zero

    “In the beginning I struggled to find even one picture a day, but by the end I was finding 10 pictures a day—it was so much easier to find the things to make me happy.”
    — Dmitry Golubnichy, as told to TODAY.com

    Dmitry Golubnichy was born in Ukraine and was living in Switzerland when, at the age of 27, he found himself in a slump. He admitted that he had every reason to be happy, but said that he had fallen “into a trap of sadness.”

    So Dmitry made a resolution to come up with one thing a day that made him happy. He had the idea to make his gratitude public so that he’d have enough “social pressure” to stick to his plan. And, on October 30, 2013, he posted his first #100HappyDays picture to Instagram.

    Little did he know that, in the days to come, over a million people would join him in the #100HappyDays challenge.

    Dmitry's #100HappyDays

    Dmitry only has 538 followers on Instagram today — which may be a fair number for an individual, but isn’t a ton for the creator of a social media movement.

    The photos from his first round of #100HappyDays were, as you may expect, personal, and they didn’t have much engagement.

    Day 9

    #day9 showed what seem to be the results of a performance review.

    Day 51

    #day51 showed some progress on the website that Dmitry built for the movement. The website (https://100happydays.com/) launched on December 30, 2013.

    Day 96

    Oddly, Dmitry’s first round of #100HappyDays ends at #day96 on February 6, 2014.

    Day 1 (2nd Attempt)

    And then starts over again on #day1 on April 1, 2015. There were no photos posted to his Instagram in the almost 10 months between.

    Day 100 (2nd Attempt)

    But he did finish the challenge the second time around.

    Getting Social With It

    1.5 million people.
    220 countries/territories.

    According to the official #100HappyDays website, “the challenge has been taken by more than 1,500,000 people from 220 countries and territories around the world.”

    It also claims that 71% of people who try to complete the challenge fail, citing lack of time as their most common reason. This seems like all the more reason to try, according to the verbiage on the site.

    “These people simply did not have time to be happy. Do you?”

    When website visitors sign up, they are prompted to choose their preferred platform. Instagram is the first listed, and is by far the most popular channel for the hashtag.

    Over 23M photos have been tagged with #100HappyDays on Instagram. According to Dmitry’s 100HappyDays application to the 7th Annual Shorty Awards, the hashtag was used more than 10M times on Facebook and 3M times on Twitter.

    Perhaps it was unintentional, but you do have to hand it to Dmitry for creating a hashtag that leads to exponential growth—almost all registrants use the hashtag more than once, and a fair percentage use it as many as 100 times or even more. That type of retention would make any brand jealous. Plus Dmitry’s Shorty application claimed ”87% of asked participants have responded they would take the challenge again this year, while the majority of the rest admitted they continue using #100HappyDays hashtag on occasional basis to mark their happiest moments.”

    Types Of Content

    Interestingly, 100HappyDays does not have a strong Instagram following of its own, and the Facebook and Twitter followings are only at about 15K and 10K, respectively.

    The Twitter account in particular posts lots of images of inspirational quotes or thoughts either in a handwritten font or typed on top of generic, filtered photos.

    A scroll through the Instagram photos that have been tagged with #100HappyDays leads one to believe that perhaps some of the same types of things make all of us happy—or at least publicly happy: cats and dogs, food, drinks, selfies, workouts, flowers, kids, significant others, friends, sunrises/sunsets…and baths.

    The B-List Boost

    The #100HappyDays challenge was taken on by a handful of celebrities, whose photos didn’t vary too much from those of the general public. The celebrity participants were almost entirely female and many were far from household names.

    TODAY encouraged use of the hashtag by their fans and followers and even their own broadcasters:

    And posted their own 100HappyDays Facebook album. Here’s their #100HappyDays photo with the most FB likes:

    According to the above mentioned Shorty Award submission: “When TODAY Show took the challenge on behalf of the show, their Facebook post engagement more than doubled comparing to that of pre-Superbowl coverage (to be specific, +135% in Facebook likes & +104% in overall social engagement).”

    Let The Happiness Spill Forth

    On the whole, the #100HappyDays challenge seemed to put happiness into the social media realm through microblogging, or “blogging done with severe space or size constraints typically by posting frequent brief messages about personal activities” (definition from Merriam-Webster). Followers and friends of those taking the challenge were taking a peek into happy-focused digital journals.

    In this HuffPost UK article, a business mentor and coach supports the idea, and Canadian Living writer Simone Castello completed the challenge and enjoyed the experience.

    This HuffPost editorial raved:

    “The #100HappyDays challenge helped me remember how lucky I am. If I was having a bad day, I sought out happiness in the small things I could control, and looking back, those were often the most precious moments. It pushed me to proudly share my positive outlook with friends and strangers and notice how it lightened them up too. It gave me permission to do what I really wanted, including finishing writing my cookbook, partying instead of sleeping, telling the truth to an ex-boyfriend, and taking a vacation by myself because I felt like it. The effects were nothing short of extraordinary, and I’m without a doubt living a happier, more fulfilled life.”

    Not So Happy

    Yet, many preferred the private diary-tucked-under-the-pillow of yore.

    (Noteworthy: The New Yorker’s take on how Facebook makes us unhappy.)

    A UK “mum blogger” went so far as to begin using #7DaysofReality in an attempt to portray a truer picture of life.

    March 20:
    The International Day of Happiness

    The #100HappyDays concept only lasts, well, 100 days, and the hashtag has seen a decline in popularity since it first gained widespread notoriety in 2014.

    However, the United Nations Foundation declared March 20 the International Day of Happiness in 2013, and 100happydays got involved in 2015, which may help with the sustainability of the hashtag. The website 100happydays built collects data about what makes people happy around the world based on hashtags used alongside #100HappyDays or #HappyDay.

    We all find happiness in our own ways, whether by posting an image to Instagram, journaling, meditating, or creating. Happiness can be documented, sure—but it’s important to remember that documentation is not necessary.

    Experience #100HappyDays live at the upcoming art exhibition, Hashtags Unplugged in New York.

    Get Tickets