Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. I know some of you get all stabby when you hear people use the word “tribe”. That’s ok. Use whatever word you want. Call it your club. Your clique. Your clan. Your entourage. Your cabal of like-minded ninjas. The words don’t matter. The intentions do. If you’re going to be a successful blogger you’re going to need a go-to group of people who’ve got your back.
You don’t have to be alike but you can’t be too different.
If you’re a travel blogger and she’s a lifestyle blogger that can totally work. You do recipes and she does crafts? Sure, why not? Variety is the spice of life. A tribe can be a mix of people producing different types of content. What doesn’t mix? Polar opposites. If you’re posting Sunday School lesson plans and she’s posting sex toy reviews are you really going to want to tweet out each other’s content? You might be great friends, but you might not be the best match for tribemates. Stick with people who are producing things you’d want to share and support. You’re going to naturally connect more with some bloggers over others. That’s OK. Explore those relationships and support each other. That’s how the best tribes form.
Make it an apology free zone.
The best part of a tribe is having a group of people who let you be yourself. A tribe where you’re going to apologize for your thoughts and feelings or occasional vents isn’t going to work. Find people who let you be you and who are going to love and support you even if they don’t always agree with you. Every tribe I’ve been in has occurred organically. They’ve grown from connections made over social media and in different online communities. Those people who you are connecting with who just “get you”? Those are all your potential tribemates once you establish that you want the same things and learn you can trust each other. And being a tribemate means never having to say you’re sorry. (Well, unless you just really get out of hand…)
Trust is mandatory.
Your tribe has got to contain people you trust. You need to be able to tell them where the bodies are buried and know they’ll keep your secret. The thing about blogging is that people who aren’t bloggers don’t always “get it”. Whenever something really cool happens I always run to my tribe to let them know. The same thing happens when something makes me mad and I need to complain. No one understands me as well as another blogger when it comes to blogging. Sure, I could complain in one of the many blogging groups I’m in, but I don’t want to complain in front of dozens of bloggers, some of whom I’ve probably never talked to before. No one wants to be that girl…
Keep it small.
And you might think a tribe with 50 of your favorite bloggers sounds like a great idea. Let me tell you, it’s not. A group of 50 (or 500) bloggers who come together to help support and share each other’s work is a great idea. There’s strength in numbers! But this group is not your tribe. It’s not the group you’re going to go to when you need tough love or serious advice or just to vent. You can’t share private info in a group of more than a handful of people and expect that info to remain private. It’s just not how it’s done.
There can be more than one.
This isn’t Highlander. You can have more than one tribe. It’s OK. People have multiple groups of friends all of the time. Just play it cool. It’s not OK to cross share info from one group to the other unless you’ve been given permission. Remember what I said about trust? It’s going to come into play here, too. Support each other and keep everyone’s secrets. There’s nothing wrong with having two groups of friends who can help you hide the bodies when you need it.
And for full disclosure: I don’t really have any bodies I’ve buried or need to hide. But if I did, I totally know who I’d ask to help…