Photo by David Whittaker

Waking up every day to a phone filled with news notifications that make your heart skip a beat in sadness, frustration, and anger is overwhelming. As much as it is incredible to see previously hidden topics, issues, and conversations happening, it is challenging to keep a positive and optimistic mindset. We are getting so used to feeling inundated with doom and gloom. We are so well connected to people across the globe that we can experience so much suffering.

Technology, however, allows us to find connection and build community in light of the struggles we are facing as a society. This helps us not to feel alone anymore, to feel as though we have a space to share our experiences. Positive movements and connection over the good things that are happening, however, have become few and far between. At Of Course Global, we believe in building projects, systems, and campaigns that change the conversation to put the positive and collaborative narrative at the center of them all. This year, we worked together with artist J.Views, non-profit Global Citizen to build a movement that showcased how people all over the world are coming together to take a stand against fear mongering and separation.

#WeMove is a social media-based movement that asks people to post videos of themselves moving like they are not afraid. It was born out of a song by J.Views where he asked people to submit these types of videos and was overwhelmed by the positive response. He received these videos from people around the world and knew that he had discovered something really special. As we helped him build out what the potential of this movement could be, we continued to see how passionate about this people were the more we shared about it. We spoke with brands, NGOs, and individuals about this and they loved the intention behind it. It felt as though people needed an outlet for self-expression, for connection, and to take a stand in the way that didn’t feel like it was adding to the negative sentiments we are all feeling. After seeing the response this movement garnered, we’ve synthesized what we think worked really well so others can hopefully take their own positive actions.

01 | Identify
Building this movement started with identifying a universal emotional state. Purely from the conversations, we have in our circles and communities, both digital and physical, there’s an energy that seems to be happening across our society. For us, it was frustration in all that was happening in the news when we know that what we believe and how we feel isn’t being represented. There was a yearning for connection to say we are not scared of each other, and rather we want to care for and support each other within and outside of our borders.

This requires a sense of “tuning in” to the patterns that emerge from conversations, from articles, from art about what’s happening societally. Start to notice the common themes that you see happening, keywords that pop up over and over, and chat with people about how they are honestly feeling. Keep in mind that this is challenging to do as you will be holding a lot of space for others. Make sure to take care of yourself as well so you can keep doing this work.

When building a global movement, identifying this emotional state that resonates across a global community is the first step.

02 | Express
After identifying what that common thread is, create an outlet for your audience to express that emotion. For us, getting people to actually move their bodies as if they were unafraid connected to the intention on multiple levels. On the one hand, it helped people feel an emotion in their bodies, rather than just talking about it. Bringing those thoughts or emotions into something you can feel creates a different way of experiencing and understanding that we often miss out on.

On another level, movement related to the global nature of WeMove and our ability to go almost anywhere. While we were crafting this, travel bans and new immigration laws were making the news. When our families and our communities are all over the world, feeling mentally and quite literally that you cannot move or travel to see them is jarring. Incorporating actual movement into the action, we were asking people to do a metaphor for a bigger sentiment.

After all of this, asking people to post videos of them doing so is another level to it. It is uncomfortable and embarrassing to dance or move your body in a way that isn’t the norm out in public. Then to post that on the internet is getting people to operate differently than how we are used to. All our sensors go up telling us this is a bad idea. Our instincts to keep ourselves safe, socially pop up. But part of this whole movement was questioning how our society currently operates. If we were going to do that, we wanted to get people to also push past what society deemed as being okay.

After figuring out the common thread and message, figuring out the action is key. Movements need to feel tangible, clear and smart.

03 | Share
And finally, create a platform for the synergy of the collective expression to come together. There needs to be a personal element to it and a shareable element to it so that connection can start. At the heart of WeMove was a human connection, so we needed to create a hub for everyone’s shared emotions and expressions to come together. Using the power of both physical and digital experiences, we created a multi-faceted platform for these sentiments to co-exist. WeMove lived on Twitter and Instagram and came together on the Global Citizen website and live at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City. We received thousands of posts and at the Global Citizen Festival shared a beautiful video sharing the movement with the audience live in person. Witnessing people see the movement was electric. There was a shared humanity and connection that lived in the air.

The community that was built online through the #WeMove hashtag, the comments on those posts, and also physically through the conversations that spark by seeing people dance in public spaces and finally at the festival was beautiful. Creating a system for all those interactions, realizations, and experiences to happen was crucial to the spread and impact of the movement.

Our access to connect with people around the world should be cause for celebration, not fear. Continuing to build movements and do work towards opening minds and hearts on a global scale will be crucial. In a year that has made people feel as though they are drowning in horrible news, we need more people building connection, communities, and communications that take positive action.

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