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Common Story

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Defining common story

Needs for this page: 
* tips for finding common ground within communities
* tips for using common identity to inspire collaboration

Other network characteristics discussed on the wiki: 
* Social Ties
* Vision
* Shared Resources
* Communications
* Feedback
what this is
Networks are connected by shared unifying values, interests, motivations and language. In a sense, the common story is "what brings people to the table". Network members must understand where the “breaking points” lie: what is absolutely “in” or “out”.

A shared sense of mission is a critical component of effective networks. What brings actors "to the table"? Tell us how you find and build the 'common story' of your network...

Examples of strong common story

We're still in the process of gathering examples on the case studies page, after which we'll start linking to those illustrative of strong common story here. Add your examples below or on the case studies page!

Building common story

  • Vocalize the common story - for example, on network materials, on email signatures, at events, etc.
  • Organize activities to reinforce the story: volunteer activities, movie screenings, awards ceremonies, etc.
  • Share stories about why members joined the cause. This will also help build social ties.
  • Share like-minded materials through online feeds, video, photos and tags.
  • Assess network priorities collectively - through face-to-face meetings, online tools, etc.
  • Provide peripheral but critical services and support to the community: affinity group meetings for communications staff, young professionals, etc.
  • Create social groups or 'alumni networks' for members.
  • WHAT ELSE? Please add your suggestions to this list

Evaluating common story

The following questions can help you investigate your network's common story...

  • Overview of some handy evaluation tools
  • Do network members have and understand a common story? What is it?
  • Is the story reinforced through network language and materials?
  • What events or activities reinforce the common story of the network?
  • Where does the network find "likely allies"? Are they religious groups, mothers, students, etc.? What activities or beliefs go hand in hand with the common narrative?
  • Conversely, where would the network find "likely foes"? What activities or beliefs are clearly against the common story?
  • WHAT ELSE? Please add your suggestions to this list - we're trying to create the most thorough and useful resource possible!
  • Evaluation tools

Q&A and Tips

Ask questions of other network builders on the this page's 'discussion' page (follow the tab at the top of this page). We'll pull highlights into this space.

“Marry a partner who speaks a different language than you" to avoid inbreeding depression and also to bring vigor to the gene pool of the Tribe. The underlying value here is the survival of the Tribe”. - Katsi Cooke: Running Strong for Native American Youth

Photo credit: Crowd photo: adlaw: