BadgeWe all love to be part of a tribe, don’t we?* It explains why social media has been so successful, why people hang out at Starbucks, why we follow teams.

I just returned from two blogger events, the Dole Salad Summit and Camp Blogaway. Both were fun and informative, and I’ll be posting about them in more detail.

But today I want to talk about belonging. Notice the purple ribbon on my badge from Camp. Such a simple thing. There were pink ribbons for first-timers, and other colors for presenters and sponsors. The effect on the experience was profound. It allowed newbies to connect, instantly, and share the experience with someone else who was new. It allowed alumni the chance to pay it forward and welcome first-timers. It allowed us to thank the sponsors and the presenters, and even to connect with people who we missed the first time.

One thing that has struck me after attending events like this are the confessions. Perfectly reasonable, articulate, mature people confess how nervous they were, how unsure they’d fit in. It’s like we all have a 13-year-old girl or boy inside of us who springs forward in these settings.

I checked in with newcomers during the weekend and found much less anxiety. People felt much more welcome. Because they belonged. They felt part of a group, a tribe. Of course there were old friends who hung out, but it didn’t feel like a clique.

If you are involved in any kind of group, think about how you can help others feel they belong. Pass along the good karma. You might be surprised at how good it will make you feel, too.

*One reader says no… introverts don’t. What do you think? Do you seek out a feeling of belonging or not?