The Community Club

Oana Filip
Oana Filip

Posted on • Updated on

Storytelling is the glue of communities


In ten years since I've been a community builder, I notice that there's too little talk about the power of stories to gather people and empower them to work together.

Often, professionals use storytelling as a magic ingredient that either sounds good in their communication efforts or they use it interchangeably with marketing.

I've always been putting authentic narratives at the forefront of my community efforts (especially within communities of interest), and it paid off every single time.

I wrote an essay about it, and I would love to keep the conversation going:

So, what's your take on storytelling when it comes to community building? How do you use stories to nurture a tribe?

Best wishes,

Discussion (2)

britt_pham profile image
Britt Pham

Hi Oana! I love this inquiry, thanks for posting β€” I agree that "storytelling" is often used as a marketing/communication tool, and in some ways has felt like the newest buzzword...

IMO β€” Storytelling is a powerful tool for cultivating belonging in communities. There's a special kind of magic in hearing someone tell a story, seeing bits of yourself in what they share, and feeling a human-connection with them and others in the room who also resonate. It's the foundation for any community to co-create and make an impact. Beyond that, I also think storytelling can be incredibly healing; the act of naming an experience, feeling, etc. and being affirmed builds community itself.

Separately, I want to invite some consideration re: using the word "tribe" as a synonym for company culture, community, and similar terms β€” I recently learned from a Lakota (Native American) educator how using "tribe" outside of Indigenous contexts is appropriative, due to the oppression that actual Tribal Nations have faced. The educator's name is Corinne Rice-Grey Cloud and she has a great IG highlight on her profile titled "🚫Tribe🚫" to learn more. I'll also note that this piece of education + my personal understanding is through a US-lens, and I see that you're based in Romania; so if your understanding is different, I welcome your perspective.

oana profile image
Oana Filip Author

Hi, Britt! Wow, thanks a bunch for taking the time to share your valuable insights.

First of all, I'm beyond grateful for the heads-up regarding the use of ''tribe.'' In my culture, ''tribe'' and ''community'' are used interchangeably. Both mean, more or less, the same thing: a group of people who share similar values and work together for a greater good. However, I genuinely respect the Indigenous tribes and their heritage, so I'll pay more attention in the future. Thank you!

Second of all, stories have, indeed, the power to heal, protect, support, empower, change, and narrow the gap between people. We've been putting stories at the forefront of our community-building efforts since the very beginning. Often, our members told us that they feel less alone through stories and can make sense of the complicated world we live in.

Here's the archive of the stories published within the Upstairs Community:

Stay safe!