No writer is an island but it sure feels lonely sometimes (let’s change that and make real social change)

Sometimes blogging feels like I’m yelling into a hole in the ground:

“Hello!!!!

Is anyone there?!?!

I have an opinion!!!!

And some advice!!!!

Does anyone care?!?!”

*throws pebble*

*anxiously waits for a response*

*faint plop*

If you’re a writer you know the feeling too…

It’s great when blog posts have lots of views but what we writers really crave are comments. Especially the constructive type of comments that welcome discussion.

Comments are our lifeblood because when we post something new we don’t just want people to pat us on the back and tell us we write pretty (although Words of Affirmation is one of my love languages). We want people to stop and think. We want people to see things differently. We even want people to tell us why we’re wrong (respectfully of course) and show us their point of view.

The goal with our writing is to make a difference in other people’s lives: To make real social change.

GMP wanted to re-invent media so instead of each contributor or reader being an island, we were connected and discussing among ourselves.

We don’t achieve that goal when there’s no discussion…and when there is no discussion, it can make writing feel futile.

But that’s changed — -for me anyway and maybe for you.

I’ve recently joined the Good Men Project (GMP), a website & community that, for the past 10 years, has been having “The conversation no one else is having.”

What is the conversation about? It’s about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Articles range from dating and relationships to racism and sexism to sports and ethics, and then some.

Since inception, GMP has been the same as any other online platform out there…offering words, videos, social media, podcasts, etc. for public consumption.

It’s been quite successful with three million people visiting each month. But the people at GMP felt they weren’t achieving the level of interaction needed to create real social change. To do that, GMP had to become more participatory so people would be more compelled to discuss and comment.

In other words, GMP wanted to re-invent media so instead of each contributor or reader being an island, we were connected and discussing among ourselves.

And they achieved last year when GMP rolled out Social Interest Groups, which cover topics that are central to 21st-century men’s changing roles in society. They include:

· #StopRacism

· The Disposability of Men

· Political Activism

· Conscious Intersectionality

· Men and Mental Health

· Sex, Love, Etc.

· #StopSexism

· Education

Members of the Good Men Project who are interested in any of those topics don’t just write. The talk. They discuss. They question.

Every week, members are invited to join a conference call that is moderated by a trained leader and each week they discuss different sub-topics. (For example, yesterday during the #StopSexism call we discussed purity culture.)

Let’s be honest — -there’s so much going on in the world nowadays. It’s hard to wrap our heads around it and (I don’t know about you but) I often feel helpless to do anything because it all seems so insurmountable.

The feeling is like sitting around a campfire and sharing ideas and thoughts on the topics that really matter to us (but without the S’mores or mosquitoes).

With the Special Interest Groups, GMP is aiming to create real communities around important social issues where people can work together to push for real social change.

Let me repeat that: Push for real social change.

Let’s be honest — -there’s so much going on in the world nowadays. It’s hard to wrap our heads around it and (I don’t know about you but) I often feel helpless to do anything because it all seems so insurmountable.

These weekly conversations are a first step in conquering that helplessness and making a real and tangible change to the world we live in.

Now that I am attending these calls I no longer feel like I’m yelling into that hole because, when I’m on a call and say something, I get feedback immediately from one (or many) of the people on the call who also care about the same topic but may have a different opinion about it. All of a sudden, the conversation isn’t one-way, it’s not even two-way. It’s multi-directional and in real time. And that’s amazing.

The conversation doesn’t stop when we log off the call. There is a Facebook page for each Special Interest Group where we continue the discussion, build the community, create activism, and stay in touch between calls.

Now the question is, do you want to join?

GMP has launched an IndieGoGo campaign because the last few months with the Special Interest Groups have been more successful than ever imagined. The team at GMP wants to expand the Social Interest Groups to include many more topics and many new members.

You can grow the community and make real change by helping the Good Men Project with its two goals:

1. Increase awareness of the Special Interest Groups by sharing this message so more people will join them and/or

2. Raise funds so it can create more Special Interest Groups.

If the IndieGoGo campaign achieves its first goal of US$25,000, GMP will create several new groups, including:

· Environmental Activism

· Invisible Disabilities

· Anti-Bullying

· Eating Stereotypes for Lunch: Erasing Gender Stereotypes

· Say Yes to Science! Science Advocacy and Activism

· Blended Families

· Spiritual Fitness

· Seeing Trauma and PTSD

· Fighting Poverty

· Masculinity and Manhood: How are they evolving?

· Healthy Emotional Intimacy

· Non-Heteronormative Parenting

· The Leadership Salon

· Caregiving those with Disabilities: Whether you are a parent or caring for a parent

· Divorced Dads + Divorced Moms

· Co-Creating the Future Together

· Pitch Your Idea to Us, We’ll Tell You If It’s Good

· Finding Love and Dating in a Changing World

The funds will also help the Good Men Project with action items for each group because often the calls are not just with people who want to talk about things but who want to create real and lasting change through action. (For example, some of the funds might be used for the creation of a video that talks about men and chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football and other collision sports or to create and promote a set of memes designed to erase the stigma of mental illness in men.)

If you think these topics are worthwhile, please:

1. Donate what you can to the Good Men Project’s campaign and/or

2. Share this post with others who may be interested in the initiative.

Let’s re-invent the media and make some real social change together!

xo Ariadna