I remember a co-worker that had a small placard on her desk that looked like this:
I appreciated the snark, because in that job, the perspective of people coming together was one of bureaucratic time-wasting and not of collaborative creativity.
So how do you bring people together in a meaningful way? The answer is simple, accessible, and modern: Facebook Groups.
In a Facebook Group, you can engage when you feel excited, and remain silent when you are not. You can skim over dumbass comments instead of wasting time on them. You can brainstorm when the spirit moves you, not when your boss requires it. You can run off with like-minded folks and create with them, and you can take a hiatus whenever you need it.
More and more groups of yoga teachers are identifying on Facebook Groups through their geographic locations.
- The Atlanta, GA teachers group boasts 223 members.
- SATYA, the Savannah group, has 90.
- The Charlotte, NC group maxes out at 363 teachers.
- And the Triangle Area Yoga Teachers (my local group, which represents Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham, NC) has 516 members.
Gisela Crider, creator of the Charlotte, NC group, says,
I felt that there was a perceived disconnect between teachers; a lack of cohesiveness in the local yoga community that was fostered by competition between studios.
At the time, several studios were splintering and new studios were popping up. I felt disconnected from the other yoga communities in other parts of town – not knowing who they were and what their specialties were. I wanted a way to foster communication between teachers that was productive.
So what exactly happens in these groups?
- Studio owners advertise guest teachers,
- folks ask for equipment donations for charitable endeavors,
- special trainings are mentioned,
- there are calls for teachers and substitutes,
- individuals post about their studio-less classes,
- and (my favorite thing) requests for charitable teaching. (We have a wonderful woman in our group who has been able to recruit for a program teaching in a women’s prison.)
In widespread, busy communities, Facebook Groups can act more as a coffee shop or a bulletin board, and less than a stodgy, boring meeting.
At a certain point, I wanted the teachers in my group to be able to advertise their classes through Facebook in one public forum. And so, we graduated to a Facebook Page. I am able to edit who is allowed to post to the Page, and so far, nearly 100 teachers and studio owners from our Group have become editors to the Page.
While we are still in a mitosis of sorts, figuring out what posts work best within our circle of teachers vs. what we want to advertise to the world, it is going swimmingly so far.
Why, oh why, you ask, would a studio owner facilitate a place for competitors to advertise freely? I’ll tell you why. I truly believe that a rising tide lifts all ships.
The more people have access to what kind of yoga events are happening in our area, the more yoga they’ll attend.
I also believe that, with so much variation in type of yoga available, that each studio and teacher has a chance to carve out their own niche. If we all occupy our own, very specified market, advertising together doesn’t necessarily mean competing against each other.
You can like Triangle Area Yoga Teachers here.