Finding Your ‘Tribe:’ Getting the Support You Need From the People Who Get You

Posted on August 24, 2019

Luke Skywalker, Leia Skywalker and Han Solo stand together in support of saving the galaxy.

Today’s Buzz is by Katie Nelson (TwitterLinkedIn)

What I’m Listening To: “The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters”

What I’m Watching: Glow: Season 3

What I’m Reading: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Frodo had the Fellowship.

Harry had Dumbledore’s Army.

Shoot, anyone heard of the Golden Girls?

Over the last several weeks, there have been moments where I’ve reflected on what it means to find your “tribe,” your group of die-hards who are there to help ease you through rough waters, who collectively have your back, and who can be sounding boards for ideas, feedback, and constructive criticism.

As a social media manager in government, you are “social” in a digital space — you are a customer service captain to a community often far bigger than your own. You live and breathe linking people to the right channels, and you know how important it is to be the support system for those who need you, even in the smallest moments of assistance.

You are the gift of one, providing to the voices of many. You have created a space where people feel they can come and receive and know that they are being taken care of because that is what they, even in some small measure, expect from you.

Let that sink in for a minute. You are the person who in some capacity is “it.” You are the person who can do it all, be it all, save it all — at least to your followers online. And let’s be honest, that more often than not extends into real life.

Now, sit down. That’s a lot for one human.

Sounds like you need a little support for you, right? Do you know where your “tribe” is, and how to get a hold of them?

At the end of the day, or even in the midst of your work, this vital aspect of self-care for you in your job should be established early on. Your “tribe” of people can be those social media managers, public information officers, or digital communication representatives in your immediate neighboring jurisdictions. Or, it could be people from across the country. Dream big.

That’s the beauty of organizations like ELGL – it links you out to potential people who can be those folks who become instrumental in not only helping you elevate your strategy for engagement opportunities with your agency, they are also the folks who understand more than anyone how you feel and how to best support you.

What does that look like?

It isn’t hard to become overwhelmed as a social media manager. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that you just cannot with people anymore that day. It isn’t too much to think that sometimes, it feels like no one hears you, despite your incredible aptitude at conversation and communication.

It’s just that some days, no matter how much you love it, it’s a bit overwhelming.

Your “tribe” checks in on you, they listen to how you feel, they ask if you need help. They call you when they see or read that your agency has had a rough day. They send you fun socks, they ship you gigantic boxes of Gushers, they let you vent and share with you ridiculous cat, dog, otter, or goat videos because who doesn’t love getting those things?

In essence, this cluster of communicators stands by you through the seasons of your career. And what’s more, these aren’t collectives where it feels forced simply because you have similar jobs. Jim Henson said it best: “There’s not a word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.”

The Muppets smile as they celebrate being together.

That is your “tribe.” Find them. In fact, start here! ELGL is literally the space of the super, where people from all over the country can connect in person or online to begin to form a hive of support.

Are you a part of the Facebook group? Do you follow them on Twitter? Have you been to a supper club?

No? Start there. If that’s a yes? Great, keep it up. You know at least one other person who could benefit on even the most basic level from knowing someone in their industry who gets it and who, more importantly, gets them.

Supplemental Reading

Feeling Myself — Understanding My Emotional Attachment to Social Media Engagement

Vital Role of a PIO: Shared With NIOA

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