Finding our tribes

When we’re growing up, our friends are typically the kids with whom we go to school, ones who live in the same town or go to the same church or who are on the same sports teams. Our friendships are often dictated by physical proximity. And not so long ago we didn’t have the Internet through which to connect with other people in other locales, ones with whom we share interests. But hallelujah, we do have the Internet now. This makes finding people who are like us much, much easier. Though the word “tribe” is often used to indicate Native American/First Nations peoples, in recent years it’s also become known as a way to identify people who have an affinity for a similar … something. Through online groups, Facebook, Twitter, etc., you can connect and form long-distance but immediately accessible friendships with people who like the books, foods, hobbies, TV shows, etc., that you’re passionate about. These are “your people.” These tribes might be huge (people who love books) or finite (the Romance Bandits), but that common thread that ties you together is strong.

Robin Hood and the Evil Queen/Regina from Once Upon a Time.

I have a group of “geek friends” who appreciate my fangirl moments for sci-fi shows and cosplay. What is cool is that once a year we get to see each other and be surrounded by 60,000+ other members of that larger tribe of geek culture at DragonCon. There are subsets of geek culture, too. I can talk Doctor Who with my fellow Whovians, lament how Firefly only got one season with my fellow Browncoats, and gasp over last season’s big revelation in the season finale of Once Upon a Time with other Oncers. And then there’s talk of shipping — chatting with fellow fans of specific romantic pairings on shows (hello, fellow Outlaw Queen fans — fans of the Robin Hood/Evil Queen aka Regina) pairing on OUAT.

But all of my tribes don’t have to do with my fondness for all things geek. My biggest tribe that means a great deal to me — fellow writers. They’re the only people with whom I can talk shop who really get everything I’m saying.

Connected to that are fellow readers, particularly if you’re a fan of certain books or series. One of the biggest tribes of book fans in the world is for fans of the Harry Potter series. I personally love dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction; steampunk; American-set historical romances; the Anna Pigeon mystery series by Nevada Barr; Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League series; the Kate Shugak mystery series by Dana Stabenow; and a lot of different young adult series, so it’s always fun to talk to fellow fans of these books.

And if you get a dedicated group of people who love something, they’ll fight for it. Take for instance the current #longlivelongmire campaign to get modern-day western series Longmire (based on the books by Craig Johnson) picked up by another network or Netflix following A&E’s idiotic choice to cancel it despite the fact it was the network’s second highest-rated show after Duck Dynasty. The reason for cancellation? The viewers are too old, not part of that young demographic advertisers want. They seem to have overlooked the fact that older viewers have money to spend while many younger people are having trouble finding jobs and thus don’t have a lot of disposable income. Ahem, sorry, I went off on a righteous tangent there. πŸ™‚

Ticking another NPS unit (San Antonio Missions National Historic Park) off the list.

Your tribe can be formed around anything — a love for old cars, crochet, jewelry making, your love of travel, quilting, being a foodie, fans of a specific sports team, people who have through-hiked the Appalachian Trail, twins, etc. One of my other tribes came as a result of a magazine article I did on the Extra-Miler Club, people whose goal it is to visit every county in every state in the U.S. I was so intrigued that I joined and with my travels this summer have now passed the 1,000 counties mark. I also have another goal of visiting all of the units of the National Park service, so fans of national parks are part of another of my tribes.

So what are your tribes? Tell us any stories you have about how finding your tribe has changed your life or how the Internet made it possible for you to find them.

Comments

30 Comments

  • Jane says:

    Hello Trish,
    I have some geek friends that I talk to about comics and go see superhero movies with and then there are my shopping buddies who I seek out when there’s a sale or we just want some retail therapy.

  • Amy Conley says:

    When we first got a commputer, and I do mean FIRST computer, I was afraid of it. Hubby haaad already done lots of things, but I wouldn’t go neaar it til he told me aboooout the chat rooms and how sure he was I could find a room which ffell into one of my caatagories/intrests. So I looked around. I found a chat room (not hubby’s), and “met” one of my best friends. Nevermind she lives in New Zealand, she is still one of my best friends. AAfter a short period wwe just began skipping the chat room and went straight to chat. These days it”s face book, mostly, but we atill are the best of friendss.
    And aboout your ow NPS travels, please let me know if you are ever coming to the Lincoln National Boyhood Memorial. I livve 5 minutes from there and was also married in the chapel there.

    • How cool that you met your best friend online and that she lives in New Zealand. It’s like online dating for friends. πŸ™‚

      Will definitely let you know if I come up that way. I’ve not seen much of Indiana, just the most southern tip that was near where I grew up in Kentucky.

      • Amy Conley says:

        Trish that’s where I am, southern Indiana. Only 30 miles from the river and “God’s Country”, as my fil says (he was born and raised in Ky).

  • Deanna says:

    I have a group of friends what I met when we joined a Kindle books group. The people in the group all owned a Kindle and we loved to talk about books. The group grew to 100+ people and some rather odd things started happening, like one of the guys stalking a girl in the group and when he found out what hotel she was staying in for a business trip, he rang the hotel to “check it out” for her. After that and a few other incidents, the girl who got stalked started a splinter group of 11 of us. 9 of the women were in the US from various parts of the country, me from Australia and one lone guy from Iceland. This splinter group has been together for about 3 years now. We chat in the group daily. A couple of them who live closer have met up and become best friends. We go to the group to ask each other questions about everything from shoes to makeup to book recommendations and health problems. One of the girls and I have become very good friends and we chat daily outside of the group. The lone guy and I have also become very close friends and we share things with each other that we probably don’t share with anyone else, not even the people in the group. Even though we have built subsets of relationships within the group, we’re still strong together as a group. These people are my tribe even though I have never met any of them in person.

    • Sounds like a wonderful group. Scary about the stalker guy in the first group though. Eek.

      I really do love how the Internet has made it possible to “talk” to our friends in other countries every day, to even have those friends in the first place.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Trish

    My Tribe is romance readers all over the world now because of the internet I discover The Australian Romance Readers Association through a blog here at The Bandits and I have never looked back I have met many authors and made friends with lots of them and readers alike and I love it πŸ™‚

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Mozette says:

    I have geek friends, horror friends and arty friends… and we all seem to get along really well together.

    Then, there’s music friends, gardening friends and that other group of friends who don’t fit into any of the above… and I love them all the same.

    But then, life is supposed to be just that: a mixed bag of goodies and friends from all walks of life, right? πŸ˜€

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Trish! What a fun post! Like most who’ve posted, I have lots of tribes. Reader and Writer, of course, Dog-showing Tribe, Dog-Loving Tribe (much bigger!), Lab Rescue Tribe, LOTR and Harry Potter Tribes, Baseball and Football lovin’ Tribes (no Tribe comments from you on this one, Suz! Snork!), Architecture geeks, Design and rehab geeks, Gardening/landscape…Oh, and of course, my Halloween-Freaks-n-Geeks. Snork!

    Didn’t think about how many “sub-groups” I belong to until you asked….Ha!

    • It is interesting when you really start looking at all the various groups of friends that have an impact on us, isn’t it? Sounds like you’ve got lots of interests keeping you busy. πŸ™‚

  • catslady says:

    This sort of fits in with yesterday’s blog. Besides reading which is a lot of what I get into online I have different “tribes.” Family would be one of course, then there’s my love of games of any kind so I have online games with others, my card club friends, my bowling friends which we’ve branched out and do movies, I have two different bocci groups, one is an American Legion group of people and in the winter we switch to game night. Now that I think about it, one friend or or groups introduces another group or friend so it makes for many various “tribes.”

    • It’s lots of fun when friends from one tribe cross into another. Like my superhero movie-going friend is a fellow writer and one of my geeky going-to-DragonCon friends. πŸ™‚

  • Trish, loved your piece. So glad you had such a wonderful time at Dragon Con! I love how social media has allowed me to make contact with people who share my interests all over the world. I’ve met a whole stack of stately home, vintage fashion, beautiful jewellery, fine china, book-reading, theatre-going, weird sense of humored chums through Facebook.

    • Love the sound of all your groups, Anna. The world really did get smaller (and yet is filled with infinite possibility and connections) when the Internet came along.

  • Shannon says:

    I haven’t been great on joining groups often. I think I’ve found a tribe in romance readers.

    There’s a social group where I have quite a few friends who hold my hand through thick and thin.

    For a while I had a work group that had conferences, but there’s not funds for annual meetings or the other odd conferences.

    And there’s the pool ladies a/k/a as the Girl Scouts, a group that has grown into a community.

    • That’s the wonderful thing about these groups of like-minded people, that they grow into so much more. And like you said, they are there for you during thick and think, the good times and the bad.

  • Pissenlit says:

    WHAT?? LONGMIRE WAS CANCELLED??!!?!!? That is NOT cool! SO not cool!

    I have a large group of friends who are geeks so we’ve got fandoms galore. I hooked up with a few people in this particular group on the internet after I saw them on the news because they did a two week long lineup for Star Wars ep1. I had done a day long lineup elsewhere in the city for the movie but theirs looked more fun. Over the years, the group has been like a katamari and picked up more people all over the place πŸ™‚ I’ve never been to DragonCon but a few of us just came back last night from having gone to Montreal Comiccon’s Star Trek:TNG – Engaged! event on Saturday where our friends’ geek band performed a song at the opening and at the closing of the panel.

    • Yep, fans are so not happy. They and the cast and all the production folks are really trying to find it a new home.

      How cool about the Star Trek event. Hope you had a great time. And thanks for mentioning the geek band. I love those types of bands. I’ve seen lots of them for Harry Potter (Harry and the Potters is the most famous, I think) and others for Firefly, Doctor Who, etc.

    • Pissenlit, what great fun! I’ve never been to a Trek convention, but I hope to one day.

      • Pissenlit says:

        I’ve never been to one either but I bet they’re all sorts of fun! It wasn’t an actual Trek convention, just a separate ticketed event. The Montreal Comiccon is full of all sorts of fandoms! πŸ™‚

  • Trish, what a fun post!

    Writers and geeks are my tribes. I love RWA and writer gatherings, but I get tired of all the dressing up. DragonCon’s more laid back atmosphere works a bit better for me.

    I didn’t know Longmire was cancelled. Now we’ll never know what happened between Branch and his dad. :-/ The dh and I are bummed.

    • The hope is that it will be picked up somewhere else so we will find out. It had good ratings, so fingers crossed. I read an article the other day about how it would make good financial sense for Netflix to pick it up or perhaps AMC since they could pair it effectively with Hell on Wheels on Saturday nights.

  • flchen1 says:

    Readers and moms are two tribes that are strong on-line communities for me, Trish! πŸ™‚ And gotta love the Lair πŸ˜‰