Social Distancing = Podcast Listening, It’s Complicated with Yes Theory
In the third episode of our podcast, It’s Complicated, Series Three, our founder Tanya Goodin chats to Thomas Brag about his role in the creation of Yes Theory, a Youtube channel which has gone on to create physical communities across the globe.
Yes Theory is a YouTube channel devoted to the idea that life’s most important and fulfilling moments happen beyond our comfort zone. Brag is one of three main founders who still work with the group to ‘seek discomfort’ by putting themselves out there. Yes Theory’s model places a premium on human connection, calling strangers ‘friends they have yet to get to know’ and forging true relationships through their work online.
In the podcast Brag talks with Tanya about his personal relationship with digital addiction specifically relating to social media. As a content creator, his work is largely online and its promotion takes place on social media, blurring the line between his work and social life in a way which has highlighted his dependence. As we wrote about before, Brag felt that this dependence was so greatly impacting his life that he took a 30-day sabbatical from social media influenced by Cal Newport who spoke to Tanya in Series One of the podcast. He says that he cannot recommend a digital detox highly enough, saying he found a ‘stillness and peace’ beyond that ‘initial discomfort’. He also describes the steps he, and another co-founder Matt, have put in place in order to find a balance between having to work in social media and using it for real connections.
The community which has been created by the group Yes Theory goes far beyond those who have been involved with their videos. They have a Facebook group and encourage everyone who watches their videos to connect with the people around them as well as online. This has sprouted groups around the world in many major cities who are able to take their connection offline and make meaningful statements, such as Indian and Pakistani groups who joined together in solidarity when their countries were experiencing tension. In the podcast, Brag talks about Yes Theory’s hopes for the future of their community, how he hopes to increase their offline presence and build relationships stronger than those of passive subscribers.
In this series of Its Complicated, we wanted to talk not just about the pitfalls, but also about the positives of the internet and social media. Despite their personal struggles, Yes Theory could not be a better example of this. In a recent video, they documented the last few months of the life of a stranger. The founders asked on the Facebook page if their subscribers knew anyone who needed help and, in response, Matt started visiting terminally ill Xavier Romero. Through their documentation of this relationship, the importance of human connection could not be made more clear; and yet this bond was forged intially through social media.
In this unprecedented time, as many of us we live unable to be with family and friends, it’s inspiring to see how online connection can be made into a real physical bonds that go beyond merely the online world.