If you’re a Star Trek fan who spends any amount of time on Twitter, you may have noticed #FebTrekLove in your feed lately.
People have been using this hashtag to share screenshots and 280 characters or less of their own commentary about a different aspect of love from a different corner of the Trek universe each day.
The hashtag is the brainchild of Chris Chaplin (Twitter handle @ShelfNerds).
A former AP English teacher and current Reading Coach, Chaplin has been a Trek fan since childhood. In fact, he was born in 1987, the same year as The Next Generation. Chaplin also sold his story “The Seen and Unseen” to the 2016 edition of Pocket Books’ Strange New Worlds short story contest.
Why Star Trek Twitter prompts?
“I’ve always loved designing opportunities for people to experience something positive,” says Chaplin. “We need a reason to spread positivity these days.”
Creative Calendars Designed for All Star Trek Fans
#FebTrekLove project isn’t Chaplin’s first foray into Trek Twitter projects.
Last fall, he designed three months’ worth of prompt calendars celebrating Voyager (#VOYtober, #ThanksVoyager, and #Voymas25 for the show’s silver anniversary). In January, to get into the New Year’s spirit, he expanded his calendar’s scope to the rest of the franchise (#boldnewtrek).
His prompt calendars don’t simply list dates and assigned topics.
“The visual presentation of the prompts is important to me,” Chaplin explains, “because we will be looking at it every day for a whole month.”
Chaplin says February’s calendar was especially fun to design.
“I took a cue from Lower Decks‘ ‘No Small Part’ and its portrayal of Riker and Troi talking about their little horga’hn. Since the theme of the month is celebrating Star Trek’s depiction of love, the prompt calendar design is displayed in Captain Riker’s PADD on the Titan as he looks up reservation availability on Risa.”
Once he’s designed a calendar, Chaplin calls on other Trek fans to help him fill it with ideas.
“It’s important to me that this isn’t just about me and my takes on Star Trek,” he says, “but is something positive for the community.”
Chaplin says the fan community’s response has been exciting and gratifying.
“I am so impressed by the varied and creative interpretations people have come up with each day for these prompts,” he says.
Wading into Social Media’s Positive Potential
Chaplin intends to keep the prompt calendars coming as long as he enjoys making them and Star Trek fans enjoy using them.
“March celebrates women in Star Trek,” says Chaplin, “so the calendar design is Lucille Ball’s
desktop calendar. It felt right to honor the woman who kept Star Trek alive in this way.”
He adds the March theme suggestion came from a fan (Twitter handle @trektrill)—an example of the intelligence, imagination, and good spirits he finds in his online Star Trek fan community.
“We crave opportunities to talk about things that we love,” he says, “to wade into the positivity that social media offers, rather than the negativity.”