The Abraham Path is real, but before I get into that I’d like to bring up the fact that I’ve written on the subject of social causes before and how a company can use them to connect with the people of their community around what matters to them the most. I encourage you to read a couple of them, before or after reading this post, as they will help you gain a better understanding of social objects, the 4 C’s of Community Engagement and how to create social impact.
- The Golden Triangle of Community Engagement
- Creating Social Impact through Social Media
- Collaboration, Creating a Deeper Level of Social Engagement
In short, the Abraham Path (AbrahamPath.org) is a walking path in the Middle East that traces the journey of Abraham and his family and celebrates its story of hospitality, connectedness and kindness to strangers. The idea behind the long-distance walk, as outlined in a TED Talk by William Ury titled, The Walk from No to Yes, is to look at the third side. The third side being us, it’s the common denominator between you and me, it’s our human side. It’s what brings, or should bring us together despite any conflict that may happen between two people. In other words there is you and me, the two sides of anything, and then there is the third side… us.
The concept is easier to grasp than it is to implement but is something I’ve been talking about for years, I normally like to say it like this: when it comes to the use of social media always strive to become one of us, instead of just one of them.
The Abraham Path is all about meeting people where they live and experiencing their culture and the things that matter to them the most. This is the basis of how social media should be used, not as a way to pitch your wares but as a way to become more human, to focus on what makes us, us.
In order to have a truly profound impact on your community you must be part of what they are most passionate about. Just take a look at your closest friends, the people whom you enjoy being around, even if it’s nothing more than a conversation, what do you have in common? It’s that very commonality that brings you closer and is the very same type of commonality between the people of your business and the community that will make you “one of us.”
Much like with the Abraham Path you don’t have to stick with just one cause to support and by support I don’t mean just writing a check. I’m talking about supporting a cause that your business is all about, a cause that not only defines who you are but a cause that unites others around the cause. That is the third side and while the world may seem too big, it takes but one step to make a difference, one step down the right path.
Educator Brené Brown said “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
I came across that quote a little while ago and absolutely love the way that she defines connection. Sure, we can go to the dictionary and get a definition as well but there is more to the word connection than just:
A relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.
It’s the word linked, what does that mean? How is this link accomplished? How is a connection formed and why is it important?
Instead of a connection just being a link between two people we have to look at that link as a relationship or as Brené Brown put it, an energy that exists when people feel seen, heard and valued. Those are powerful words, so how do you make somebody feel seen, heard and valued? Easy, listen to what they have to say, give credence to what they are saying and value them.
Okay, so maybe it’s easier said than done but if you keep in mind that any relationship is a give and take endeavor, then you start to understand why taking the third side and following the Abraham Path is your best bet, when it comes to the utilization of social media in order to connect with your community. Some may see this as the high road, as if it’s somehow above them, but if you want to create rampant word of mouth and influence loyalty like no other, then support the causes that people are the most passionate about.
Again, it’s not about stroking a check; rather, it’s about supporting a cause that’s bigger than you, while at the same time connecting others around it. There have been countless companies that have done “campaigns” like these, that when it’s over they fail to capture any long term residuals because people tend to see right through these types of things. Instead, it’s best to support a cause that’s in the companies DNA, not just a “campaign.”
What are and your people passionate about?