Where everybody knows your name.

Making your way in the world today, takes everything you got. Taking a break from all your worries, it sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see, the troubles are all the same. You want to be where everybody knows your name. You want to go where people know, the people are all the same. You want to go where everybody knows your name.

“Cheers” by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart-Angelo
Sam Malone, via cheers.fandom

A few years ago I had a conversation with a friend of a friend, Maggie, which has remained with me. It was about a new running group that she had joined. <A little bit of background info: Maggie had recently moved back to the city she grew up in, but no longer had the same social circle. She is married to a doctor, who was completing his residency and spent a lot of time at work.> So I’m listening to Maggie talk about this running group, and she mentions that it is made up of people who love running AND Harry Potter. It is a Harry Potter running group. I’m intrigued, I must now know more: where do they meet, do they wear costumes, etc. Turns out, it is an online group, through Facebook, in which the members encourage each other to achieve running goals and share their love of being Potterheads ™. That is when I knew, social media platforms, such as Facebook, were an absolutely wonderful thing.

A place for everyone, literally.

Do you like knitting? There is a Facebook group for that here.

Want to be part of a Pirate page? Sure, that exists here.

Avid ghost hunter? Find your fellow Paranormalists ™ here!

Do you love cats? Follow any of these hashtags on Instagram: #cats, #catsofinstagram, #catscatscats.

Pirate cat, via Onlineamericanstore

This list could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Social media platforms have created safe spaces for groups of like-minded individuals to gather in the online world. Whether it be to share, to support or simply to encourage each other, people who might otherwise have felt alone, can have a feeling of belonging. Social media allows for traditional barriers, such as mobility limitations, geography, cultural practices, etc., to be non-issues.  As long as you have an internet connection and a device (computer, table, smartphone), you can create an account and have access to a community made for you.

Making your way in the world today.

As the song goes, making your way in the world today, takes everything you’ve got. And that, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. In an increasingly complex and moving (usually) world, safe spaces and welcoming groups can be crucial to someone’s happiness and well-being. Shared experiences, like-minded individuals, and a sense of belonging have been made possible by social media. And though it can be argued, as I have done in my first two blogs, that social media has its negatives, I believe the positives outweigh them. And that is highlighted so much more today, when during a global pandemic we are being asked to social distance ourselves from others, to stay home, social media allows you to connect and be present. I think that this ability to connect, and Maggie’s Harry Potter themed running group, are the best things to come from social media.

What do you think? Are you part of any social media groups of communities? What is the best group you’ve been a part of, or even, just heard of online? I’d love to know!

Facebook: Where Everybody Knows Your Name: A Place for Everyone in Social Media. #Belonging #Cheers Read it at https://bit.ly/3c1euZT

Twitter: Where Everybody Knows Your Name. Read it at https://bit.ly/3c1euZT #weallbelong #cheers

10 thoughts on “Where everybody knows your name.

  1. Hi Rachel!
    This is one of the things I do love about social media! As someone who grew up struggling with social anxiety, ‘fitting in’ wasn’t exactly my strong point. Finding people I meshed well with or could even talk to was difficult and I often wish that social media had been more prominent during my teen years!
    I think it’s definitely a positive that almost anyone can find a group with similar interests that they can bond with, form connections and friendships. Personally, I’m part of a few groups, some are business specific, but are great for bouncing ideas off of or motivating each other to achieve particular goals. My main group at the moment, which I talked about once before is called Women Who Explore, which is a group dedicated to helping women get out and explore together and give them opportunities to form relationships with other like-minded women. I think we often keep ourselves so ‘busy’ with life that we forgot how lonely it can become as an adult, when it’s often more difficult to meet new friends. Social media has the ability to bridge that gap to an extent.
    The downside of this is that social media also creates an outlet for radial groups to also communicate and come together with others of the same mind such as racist, sexist, and other groups of that nature. It’s hard to completely avoid the negatives in a case like this though, so that may just be something that we have to deal with and manage as best we can.

    • Hi Cara, I totally agree with you. When writing this post I struggled with whether or not to include the negatives. Though social media has allowed for the creation of groups to connect and encourage – that isn’t always a good thing. Groups that encourage racism, sexism, and that perpetuate hate are certainly reasons to rethink the value of these social media platforms. I decided to focus on the positive, however, simply because I’m hoping if we talk about the good there might be more of it.

  2. Hi Rachel,
    Typically, I don’t join groups — just ‘not my bag, man’ — however, I recently joined a Monty Python Facebook Group. Someone had posted a scene from The Holy Grail and it reminded me of high school where my friends and I would burst into dialogue from the Dead Parrot sketch, Twit of the Year, Silly Walks, Hell’s Grannies and as you can expect the Spanish Inquisition…nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Yet somehow engaging with strangers in the same manner felt…odd. I’m envious of those who can find friendships online. I’m still ‘old school’ – – I need that human connection.

  3. Hi Rachel! I loved your blog! Especially as soon as you mentioned a Harry Potter running group, being a huge Potterhead myself I was immediately intrigued (lol). Additionally I’ve always admired those who are able to create these amazing and safe communities online, all with the goal of reaching out to people and sharing experiences. I’m not currently part of any social media groups. However I enjoy feminist communities such as Our Shared Shelf. In the past been part of a Facebook group for work, which was great because it was such a supportive environment… I regret not posting anything or interacting with others online, but it was a great place to catch up with colleagues and work news, plan after work events, and, of course, share Harry Potter anecdotes, pictures and memes (I should mention that my work was Harry Potter related, so this wasn’t weird).

    • Hi Kyra, haha, I love this! I’ve actually never read of watched any of the Harry Potter series, but I’m starting to think I should. Even if it is just to be able to join some of these awesome groups.

  4. Hi Rachel,
    Interesting blog! I agree with you that although social media has its significant disadvantages, the benefits it presents definitely outweigh them. Indeed, social media affords access to a number of various groups and pages based on personal interests. As for me, I follow several interesting pages, but I have never been a part of any particular social media community due to the lack of time. However, my friend’s grandfather has been a member of the fishing community on Facebook for a long time. He always tells us how a group of like-minded individuals has helped him to make new friends with the same hobby. Indeed, such communities allow older people to feel connected, present, and appreciated, even if they isolate themselves from others.

  5. Hi Raghad, I love this, thank you for sharing! A fishing group on Facebook sounds amazing, and a perfect example of how there is a place for everyone. I honestly would never have thought to look for a that type of community, but it is so great to hear that it exists and brings the benefits of connections and friendship into people’s lives.

  6. Hi Rachel,

    I’m totally agree with you and I think that is the amazing point of social media, several years ago I found a group about GUNDAM models and after I joined it, I leanred a lot in that group about how to use the sandpaper and other painting tools. Probably I wouldn’t know so much if I hadn’t joined that group chat. The members were from many territories and there is no limitations for where I was and when the time it was. It is really fun even just watching at their talks.

  7. Great post!

    I am a part of a few groups. I wouldn’t say I’m an ongoing active participant but join for research purposes. Especially when I make a purchase of a new item I need to learn about or have an interest in learning a new skill. Sometimes I get really overwhelmed with info in these groups. Your post has had me thinking though about the groups I am in. There are some interests I’d like to see if there are groups for and there are definitely groups that have overstayed their welcome in my newsfeed! Time to refresh!

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