We spend so much time in the rhythm of consuming things in bite-size clips that we can often forget to look at the world through a long-term lens, a big picture lens; one that encourages reflection, growth and collaboration—true sustainability. Outside of its usual climate-oriented connotations—though of course also a crucial piece—we must ask ourselves big questions about the future of our digital-social worlds:
What roles can we play in creating change that nurtures us and our communities?
To create a lasting shift in how we interact, exchange ideas, build new worlds, we all need to contribute. Some will be conversation leaders, facilitating discourse and debate; others will be listeners, helping their communities navigate the difficulties that arise when the ways we’ve thought to be correct are revealed to be misinformed, incomplete, or just plain wrong. There are countless other roles to take on. I invite you to spend some time thinking about which ones are right for you, and to remain open to them changing as well, as the world does.
How can we ensure equity for those who need it most is built into technology from the beginning?
“Those who need it most” can mean many things. Here though, I’m referring to BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and women specifically; people who have been consistently silenced through systemic and outright bigotry, sexism and racism, and specifically ignored by most makers of social apps. To create equity in the long-term, we need to center these groups, listen deeply and reflect.
How do we ensure every voice is welcomed, heard and encouraged?
We must create digital-social spaces that are welcoming, regenerative and thoughtful. Online interactions should match the civility of in-person conversations, the pauses for thinking, and recognition of verified truths; where community members of all ages are able to speak their minds, take leadership roles, and learn and laugh together. Sustainability will be found in our shared resilience and willingness to grow alongside one another.
Sustainability requires collective action, something that we’ve seen more people waking up to lately.
Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter.
CEO and Co-Founder
Hearing about how the young people in our New Community Builders program understand identity, relationships and belonging has pushed me to reflect on these concepts in new ways this past month. More specifically, further ruminating on thoughts of inclusion, and how it can often be at its most meaningful when achieved through exclusion. These thoughts are also about space — who gets to make it, and who gets to take it up.
Of course, I’m speaking about the exclusion of some in service of holding space for those whose voices are often silenced; communities of resilience that need places to ideate and grow together, to plan and heal and express themselves.
Exclusion creates openings for catharsis, experiences to be recounted and connections to be made. Exclusion-to-inclusion allows those who already lift the heavy weight of educating from their personal experience to share the load with others, and discuss solutions in ways that stay contextual to their community. In many ways, exclusion of those not part of the group enables everyone present to feel seen and heard in ways only possible when they are centered.
This is equity.
2SWIM is a community of communities that agree on a new way of being social; a way that empowers respect and compassion for each other, while also prioritizing who should and should not be present.
This equity creates a new framing of allyship; where “inclusion” means much more than “membership,” and is a clear request to actively engage.
If you’d like to connect, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
CEO and Co-Founder