Why I Don’t Use the Term “Tribe”

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of retlaw snellac


You’ve just discovered an awesome new blog or a website for a cool YouTuber, and after a few clicks, a javascript window pops up with these words in large letters: JOIN MY TRIBE! Ugh. Every time I see this, I groan. Unless it’s someone I know and I actually want to follow them to keep updated, I usually don’t “join their tribe,” and often I’ll navigate away and never come back.

I’m going to start by saying I don’t have anything against the people who use the word “tribe” to describe their network of followers and colleagues. While it turns me off, I understand the idea that these people want their social network to be more than just a collection of likes and views. For some, a tribe is a good visual representation of what they want their network to be. Who am I to say they’re wrong?

However, I just don’t see you guys that way. To me, a tribe is much more personal. The members of my tribe are the people I would leave my kids with (if I had any). They’re the people I trust to with a spare key to my home. My tribe is my network of family and close friends that I share the personal areas of my life with. They’re the people I love. That’s not you (unless it is … Hi, Mom).

The word “community” has much more meaning to me in the online sphere. When I think of community, I think of Davis (that’s where I live). I think of my church. I think of the people at my work. I think of the people that work together to make my local area a better place to live, work, and raise families. That’s what I want my social network to be like. I want to be in community with you, working together to make the world a better place.

So join my community! Comment on my blog posts, join my mailing list (I seriously haven’t even sent anything out yet; that’s how often I send things), like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I love communities, and I would love for you to be a part of mine (even if you’re crazy; I know and love a lot of crazy people).

Author: R.V. Butler

R.V. Butler was raised among the fairies in the foothills of northern California, where she learned the magic of storytelling from a variety of wizards, witches, mermaids, and superheroes. To her chagrin, she was never kidnapped by pirates or abducted by aliens, but she managed to find adventure in the most boring place of all: school. In her teens, she began a lifelong battle with the demons Depression and Anxiety, which she currently has under her thumb with the help of some very powerful potions and spells. She presently works as an administrative assistant in Winters, California, a magical land known the world over for farmers, steak, and a certain country music singer we’re not supposed to make a fuss about. At the end of 2016, she became a true Phoenix, and since then, she’s been befriending dragons, hunting things, and time traveling. Every November, she straightens her Viking helmet and captains the Yolo County ship for NaNoWriMo alongside Elisabeth Kauffman.

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