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Really? More than climate change, failing education, broken politics, twinned obesity, and hunger epidemics and all the other things we could consider the central challenge of the era?

So I started looking at social isolation more. Here are things I found:

Tribal Connections

Ironically, technology is playing a role in this disconnection, as we’re replacing deep, emotion-driving in-person relationships with superficial online relationships.

But this is not a story all about technology. By some measures, social trust peaked in the late ’60s , and Robert Putnam’s seminal book traced the decline in civic and social participation in 1995 ,  long before social media platforms started engineering our attention . Participation in organized religions–traditionally responsible for weaving the social fabric–has consistently declined , especially for younger people. The impact of this social disconnection is severe. From being able to care for our elderly or our young, to tackling giant challenges like climate change, mental health, or physical health, community health is fundamental.

Sebastian Junger, the war correspondent, identified diminished social bonds and shared purpose as the driving force of increased incidences of PTSD. In his book, , Junger recounts the work of Charles Fritz, an observer employed by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey to assess the morale of British civilians during and after the Blitz in World War II. What he found was not social chaos, but a “community of sufferers” more tightly bonded than before–“mentally healthy conditions.” “Self interest gets subsumed into group interest,” as Junger puts it.

Reweaving the social fabric is of critical importance, to us individually (we’re much happier when part of something good) and collectively.

“We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–tribes.This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.

“Whatever the technological advances of modern society – and they’re nearly miraculous – the individualized lifestyles those technologies spawn seem to be deeply brutalizing to the human spirit.” – Sebastian Junger, Tribe


How We Gather

Many nonprofit organizations are stepping into this void–some of which are covered in a report from the Harvard Divinity School’s report called . The Dinner Party , for example, connects diverse people around the dinner table to transform our deepest struggles into opportunities for growth.

And some for-profit brands are identifying this opportunity. Thinking beyond “customers,” “fans,” or “followers,” the next frontier for great brands is stepping into the cultural need and market opportunity for deeper, real-world person-to-person connection.

Rapha’s RCC is one example; others actively building tribe (in different ways) include Crossfit, SoulCycle, Sofar Sounds<,OfferUp, Starbucks, and Summit. Apple has made strides in this direction, revising the concept of its stores into " Town Squares, ” complete with communal spaces and a host of classes that enable people to gather in different ways, such as Helly Hansen Garibaldi Vl Boot Womens Purchase Cheap Online e1a2zL4lN2
where people learn photography techniques together while exploring their city.

Those companies that help us forge meaningful connections will win deep loyalty. And this needs to go beyond premium brands. If belonging can be built around apparel and technology companies, surely it can also be built around learning, parenthood, food, and health.

Companies should not just think about building belonging with customers, but also with employees. In the U.S., 70% of workers are disengaged in their work (not involved, enthusiastic,or committed), and globally the number is even higher: 87%. Nando’s, the global restaurant chain, has five values , the last of which reads “and most of all, family.”To realize this value, employees gather for dinner together on Sundays and holidays, often bringing their “other families” to meet each other.

How Brands Can Build Belonging

Most of the thinking about brand-led community building focuses on what could be described as “fandom”– people loosely aggregated around a brand. The brand is the hero, and people mostly interact with the brand, rather than with each other.


What’s needed are initiatives that truly combat social isolation with enhanced belonging.

Brené Brown, the acclaimed research professor, focuses on how to combat a “spiritual crisis of disconnection” in her new book, . Her four principles of building belonging are:

Although there are some examples of highly engaged communities being developed via technology (e.g., Peloton riders ), when it comes to belonging, real connection will most likely come from in-person interaction in real life. But having physical space is not enough: Brands should create spaces, experiences, products, and services that deliberately foster the conditions for diverse people coming together in respectful environments for shared experiences.

“If you want to make a society work, then you don’t keep underscoring the places where you’re different – you underscore your shared humanity”

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06.02.2018 15:02
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Am Valentinstag überraschen sich verliebte Paar mit Blumen und kleinen Geschenken. Aber woher kommt eigentlich dieser romantische Brauch?

Seither haben sich über die Jahrhunderte die verschiedensten Bräuche entwickelt. Besonders in England und Amerika erfreut sich der Valentinstag großer Beliebtheit.

Der erste, der zum Valentinstag Blumen geschenkt bekam, soll der englische Schriftsteller Samuel Pepys gewesen sein. Bereits 1667 schrieb er seiner Gattin einen Liebesbrief, worauf sie ihm begeistert einen Blumenstrauß schickte. So wurde es in der gehobenen britischen Gesellschaft Tradition, am 14. Februar einen Brief und Blumen zu versenden.

Englische Auswanderer brachten den Valentinsbrauch in die Vereinigten Staaten und nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg kam die Tradition durch US-Soldaten schließlich auch nach Deutschland. Seitdem spricht man auch hier offiziell vom Valentinstag.

Der Ursprung des Valentinstags wird heute auf den christlichen Priester Valtentin von Terni zurückgeführt, der als Märtyrer hingerichtet wurde. Nach der Überlieferung traute er mehrere Brautpaare - darunter auch römische Soldaten, die nach damaligen Recht unverheiratet bleiben mussten. Auf Befehl des Kaisers Claudius II. wurde er am 14. Februar 269 enthauptet. Heute gilt der Heilige Valentin als Schutzpatron der Liebenden.

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