Magick of Glitter & Tales of Building Community

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Slide Deck https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1tN6GF7K-zhqLHoX40MCJNbeehSLqUQVfUFboRouvqYY/edit#slide=id.g72e40e5bcb_0_752

Who: Sandra Ordonez, IFF Team

Date: Friday, April 10

Time: 11:00am EST / 3:00pm UTC+0 (other times below)

Where: we will send out link to technology after you RSVP

What: Glitter is very much like a community, made up of unique pieces all that have their unique shapes and colors, and when combine emit a radiance and beauty so strong that it can soften even the hardest of hearts. The same can be said about the Internet Freedom community. How did a community so diverse and located in all parts of the world come together and build solidarity despite having to overcome challenges of distance, timezones, low bandwidth, lack of resources and more.

Join this fun session and learn how you too can create a healthy, safe and vibrant communities and teams using only virtual tools and strategies, while listening to the tales of the Internet Freedom community and the magical power of glitter. .

Bio: Sandy is the co-founder and director of the IFF based at Article19. She is an experienced community engagement specialist, a proud NYC Latina , and a recipient of Fundación Carolina’s Hispanic Leadership Award. She is also a long-time diversity and inclusion advocate, with extensive experience incubating and creating FLOSS and Internet Freedom community tools.


>> Check notes out notes from other sessions here

Notes

Community Tendencies

  • Communities are always in flux. They are a breathing, living organism. They are also made up of different sub groups. Its this diversity that make them magical and unique. Communities can grow and change, but they never veer too far from what it is.
  • Communities are a type of organized chaos. You can never really define them 100% but you can identify patterns. Mimicking this, each individual also has its own patterns and also always in flux. As a result, the state of each individual, and each sub group, contributes to the overall state of the larger community. The more you know about each the more you know about each individual and subgroup the more you know about the entire landscape or community.

The Early Days of the Internet Freedom Community

  • In the early days of the Internet Freedom community, there were many different nodes and groups that didn’t know each other. Folks were distributed in all parts of the world. This contributed to a lack of trust and paranoia. There was no sense of community. In fact, there was toxic culture in the small community that did exist. Much of this was because of unchecked power structures. There was also no diversity. And vey competitive culture. The IFF was started vey much to tackle these issues and grow the community and the diversity found in it.

Community Strategies

  • To cultivate a community, its good to start small, One Human at a Time. This is because each human is reflective of the whole. Identify one or two community members of each subgroup and really get to know them. Cultivate your human bridges and ambassadors that share your mission.
  • To grow your community, find and go to the groups you want to bring in. Dont expect them to come to you. Tap your trusted sources for references. You can be creative of how you cultivate too. Try using old school methods like virtual coffees, exchange long letters. Overall, the most important thing is to build trust and listen, listen, listen. Also, act in service to others.
  • Community managers do a lot of unpleasuerable work. We must do the work that many others dont want to do, but is crucial to building community. This is especially true in the human rights field.

The Digital Presence

  • Your foundational community infrastructure and strategies should keep the needs of your most vulnerable in mind.
  • When designing your communication channels, you need to understand who are your subgroups, who is your core group, and how do they consume data and interact online. What is their technological capacity.
  • You don't need fancy technology or communication channels to build your digital presence. Using the KISS principle helps. This means build slowly and sustainability, and use what you have. Also, be authentic. Your communication channels must reflect your values, ideals, and ethnics. No graphic designer or writer? No problem but commit to a feel and look. Be authentic and real. Artisanal branding is better than polished, cold look without character.
  • Test with small group of people, observe, and fail often. Also, post often. People like to know that you are active and alive.
  • Technology preferences come in all shapes and sizes. Offer a variety of solutions depending on each subgroup. Sometimes helping subgroups connect creates stronger unity and stickiness. As a community manager, what you can do is then "weave" the subgroups together. Find ways to identify needs/resources, and connect people together. Also, find the human bridges in your community, that belong to different subgroups, and find ways to empower them! They are so powerful to help you weave your community together.
  • Collaboration is much stronger when needs/goals align. How are you helping advance the needs of each group, and how are you collaborating with them in a way that makes sense.


Glitter Facts

  • As early as 30,000 years ago, mica flakes were used to give cave paintings a glittering appearance
  • Glitter is an assortment of small, reflective particles that reflect light at different angles, causing the surface to sparkle or shimmer.
  • Due to its unique characteristics, glitter has also proven to be useful forensic evidence.
  • From 40,000 BC to 200 BC, ancient Egyptians, produced "glitter-like substances from crushed beetles as well as finely ground green malachite crystal
  • Glitter is associated with "fringe cultures", which often use excessive glam and glamor to make a statement about society
  • Glitter has been used as tool to help blur gender lines.. The flashy, sparkling nature of glitter allows users to push standard ideas of beauty and what is and isn't considered "excessive" in terms of make-up.
  • Glitter is seen as not professional. Just like many non-western or non-cis traditions or customs are seen as not serious or professional.
  • Glitter disarms people wearing an arrogant or “professional” armor that is privileged and following/supporting existing power structures. Some folks want glitter bombs to be assualt.
  • We as humans are attracted to shiny things. It makes us happy and reminds us of childhood, putting us in a creative mode
  • It’s also attached to protest - “a dramatic display of the feminine and is a symbol for LGBT empowerment”
  • Modern glitter as we know it was invented in 1934 by a New Jersey cattle rancher named Henry Ruschman