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Let's Be Real: Social Media for Social Change

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July 2017 marked the one year anniversary of Let’s Be Real, a movement by young people for young people about relationships. To share our learnings from a year of movement-making and celebrate the accomplishments of the youth who drive it, Break the Cycle staff members reflects on their experiences working with Let’s Be Real in a 4 part blog series.

Rachel DeLadesmo, Break the Cycle’s Communications Coordinator, ends the series with a reflection on social media as a driving force in Let's Be Real.

Since its formation, Let’s Be Real has made a conscious effort to include technology in its strategy, not just for amplification but as a way that meets young people where they are. Using tools like GroupMe, Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify, Let’s Be Real connects young people from across the country to work together and inspire real talk about relationships.  In GroupMe, a messaging app, we created a virtual meeting space that was comfortable, convenient, and connective - a group of young people exchanging ideas about a cause they were passionate about. When we first started, social media was just a way to spread the word about the project: What should we call this movement? What’s Let’s Be Real? What does Real Talk mean? In that virtual space, these questions were answered and a foundation was laid in the form of a logo, name, and vision for the future. 

From that foundation, LBR’s use of social media has grown and evolved to be a safe space to really talk about their relationship questions. We use platforms such as Snapchat to answer things like: Is it ever okay to cheat? How do I tell my best friend I have a crush on them? What if my boyfriend hits me? This weekly question and answer show is called Taco Bout It Tuesday. It gives young people a space to answer questions for their peers in a safe environment where they are free to be themselves, use stickers and filters, and yeah - even eat some tacos.

A common misunderstanding is that social media is only a tool for online connections. But that's not the case; think of all the times you've seen something online and immediately texted a friend about it or shared some water cooler talk at work. It's the same when it comes to conversations about healthy relationships. Social media offers a signal to start talking about these issues OFFLINE in a natural way. We don’t just have a Spotify playlist; we have a playlist that reinforces healthy behaviors, that celebrates healthy love, that brings up the question - Wait, who made this playlist? Why a playlist? - that then provides an opening to have real talk about healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships.

When we let young people take the lead, we start answering their questions in spaces that work for them and opening doors for important conversations in innovative ways. I am consistently blown away by the wisdom, creativity, and leadership of young people in Let’s Be Real. I’m honored they choose to trust us with their talents and ideas, and that we can amplify their incredibly powerful voices online so that others can hear them too. Be sure to check out Let's Be Real members online at the links below:

Real Stories Blogs: Lauren, Rodrigo, Elizabeth 

Let's Be Real: Facebook

YouTube: Videos

Taco Bout It Tuesday: Episodes

Spotify: breakthecycledv

The Let's Be Real movement needs you.  Join us!

Missed the other posts? Read the rest of the blog series on the Let's Be Real movement here