There are over 100 different social media platforms of varying degrees of social value. I mean TikTok is great…
Each platform has a purpose, TikTok’s purpose is to allow people to express themselves through short videos. Twitter’s purpose is to allow people to connect and share their views with a large audience. Facebook’s purpose is to build community and bring people closer together. You be the judge of whether they succeeded.
Hey! Lemonade is so much more than a social media platform. We’re a community. Our entire brand is designed to create connection and foster belonging.
It’s not always pretty, sometimes it’s messy, sometimes people get upset, but through it all we come together to get to know each other and learn so we can do better.
The thing with learning and doing better is we all need to do it. You, me, anyone telling you you’re not good enough, even those who tell you you’re great. We ALL could do better.
Community can be defined in a few different ways, but in general community is a place where there are certain things in common, certain language is used, certain activities happen, and people generally know each other. You know Leah & Kim; Kim & Leah know each other. You all know Sam, and when someone brings someone new into the community, you introduce them around. Our connections in a community are interconnected. Everyone you know knows several other people who also know you – and vice versa. You know the people your friends know.
As a member of the community I finally belonged to, I adopted the same language and political views as those around me. Stephan Harper and Justin Trudeau were facing off in the same election and the memes started flying. “If you vote conservative, you’re a racist, unfriend me now!” Some communities are so accepting and will have great dialogues about differing views, but some let you know that you must have the same views in order to be welcome. I had to prove I was good enough.
I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve seen more than one black, brown, or indigenous friend create a post explaining that they are good people, they do care, and they really aren’t all that privileged, but they don’t have the mental or emotional reserves to deal with politics, “So please don’t unfriend me even though I’m not taking a public stand right now.”
Unfortunately, I had the mental and emotional reserves to post, I did not have the mental and emotional reserves to think about what I was posting. So I said the same thing as the other people in the group:
“If you vote conservative, you’re racists, unfriend me now.”Sarah Langner’s Story
I’m still embarrassed, and ashamed that I said that. I caused a rift with my aunty. She stopped talking to me. It’s my fault and the world was not better for it. There was no less racism in the world, but there was further division. Instead of having dialogues or discussion, I ended relationships.
Community can build us up, or tear us down. Community can help us develop stronger connections and deeper relationships, or it can segregate us and create division. Community can support us to be the best we can be, or it can hold us in place.
The Hey! Lemonade community recognizes that very few issues are black & white. Most issues we face are so complicated it’s impossible to know the full issue, even if you’re an expert.
It doesn’t feel good to always fight. It weighs on you. You see the world as with you or against you. Pretty soon you’re alone except for the people who think the same as you. Unfortunately, no one always says the right thing all the time, eventually someone slips up. Soon you’re outside with garbage being thrown at you.
It’s how they keep you in line. They tell you no one else is good enough, everyone else is a bad person. Stick with them they say. You don’t want to be a bad person; you do as they do, say as they say.
There are people in the world who have behaved in horrifying ways. There are some who likely can never become anything other than what they are. However these types of people make up only a tiny portion of the world population. Most people are good people. Most people want to be friendly to others. Most people agree with you on more points than they disagree.
Most people would like to have you in their community. Most people want to belong just as you want to belong. In other words, you have options.
I’ve created and run many different groups of varying sizes over the years. What I know is that most people feel some loneliness. Many people don’t feel as though they really belong anywhere. Everybody wants to be seen as valuable, but so many people don’t feel as though they are. This leads to people digging in instead of opening up. It also means that when someone else reaches out and shows the path toward connection, most people grab ahold and don’t let go.