For Laurie Pallotta, TRIBAL Is the Ideal Community to Round Up the Rafferty Family
As the oldest of nine siblings, Laurie Rafferty Pallotta is accustomed to taking charge. So when it came to keeping her brother and seven — yes, seven — sisters and their ever-expanding number of offspring in the family loop, Laurie easily assumed the role of communications coordinator.
“We tried to stay in touch through group texting and through Facebook,” Laurie said. Unfortunately, neither of those channels was a suitable solution — and bringing in additional options just added to the confusion.
“It was like, ‘Did I text you that or did I Facebook Messenger that or did I ask you a question on Facebook or did I tell you on the phone … or is it on Instagram?’ ” Laurie said. “For me, it is about keeping all of that communication in one place.”
That ideal “one place” was TRIBAL. As TRIBAL’s director of content, Laurie had been involved in the platform’s development from its earliest days. The idea of using it as a way to connect her far-flung family didn’t occur to her until later, though, when a colleague mentioned he’d created his own family group.
However, the more she compared TRIBAL’s benefits to the frustrations she and her family were facing with other social media, it was clear TRIBAL really was the perfect place for the “Rafferty Kids” group to congregate.
“We were talking about how annoyed we’re getting with Facebook,” Laurie shared. “We’re still seeing all that poison, that vitriol, that hate back and forth. So I said, ‘You should all join TRIBAL. We don’t allow that there, you know? ’ ”
While it has some of the characteristics of a social network, TRIBAL strives to be more — thus the tagline “the Meaning Network.” TRIBAL content is carefully curated to deliver positive messages of hope, help and purpose, and public discussions are moderated to ensure the negativity Laurie described doesn’t appear. In addition, the TRIBAL platform is free of advertisements, even from members selling their own products and services. This lack of distraction and divisiveness creates a straightforward and safe platform for groups like Laurie’s.
A Group Is a Group Is a Group … Or Is it?
Another problem Laurie and her siblings faced while using Facebook for family communication was the “groups” feature, which allows individuals to create public or private pages to which friends are invited.
“I was kind of clearing out my Facebook the other day — because I am going to leave Facebook,” Laurie recalled.
During the process, she said, she realized just how many disparate groups she and her family had created — and abandoned.
“We created Facebook groups like the ‘Andrews Family Reunion 2020’ group — which of course never happened because of COVID — and ‘Sarah and Drew’s Wedding’ nine years ago. There are so many different groups we still have. We don’t do anything in them, but we still have them.”
Many people create groups on Facebook to have a contained, exclusive place for discussions that don’t or shouldn’t involve the hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends who see their page posts. For Laurie and her family, TRIBAL eliminates that formality.
“Our group, ‘Rafferty Kids,’ is a private and hidden group,” Laurie explained. “That’s the beauty of the TRIBAL group — you can let it be what you want it to be. Posts are only going to those select people inside that group.”
Despite the group’s hidden status, Laurie’s still careful to be sure her group’s members follow TRIBAL rules — and her own guidelines.
“I have a nephew with a rather salty vocabulary,” Laurie said. “He has said some things on Facebook that I’ll privately message him about and say, ‘You do know your grandfather’s on Facebook, right?’ ”
A Safe Place
Laurie hasn’t yet opened her Rafferty Kids group to all of her nephews, nieces and cousins yet, although one of her sisters is already excited about expanding the group to include this second generation, which numbers in the dozens.
“They’re starting to catch on that they like the idea,” Laurie said of her siblings. “Once they go in and they check it, they love it, and they love the whole idea of having our own family group, pictures we can put in there. I’m very excited to have a safe place that’s outside of social media — outside of the low standards of social media — to be able to have communications with my family, especially now that we’re so far apart.
With members in California, New York, Florida, Texas and everywhere in between, Laurie’s family group on TRIBAL will be a great place for sharing family news, starting impromptu discussions, and planning events.
“I have big ideas for what I want to use it for, especially starting a discussion about planning my baby sister’s wedding,” Laurie said. “We have a family reunion we tried to plan for my mother’s side of the family, the cousins over on that side in Idaho. Maybe we’ll do it this year. Maybe we start planning this year, and do it next year. But I would create a discussion for just that. Then we can create an event, and TRIBAL will show us a countdown to the event. It’s all very exciting.”
Laurie thinks her Rafferty Kids group could be the ideal hub for coordinating her biannual cruise, which she opens to any member of her family. With the group’s inherent privacy, Laurie and her siblings could openly exchange flight information, organize rides and rooming arrangements and more, away from the prying eyes of outsiders.
Big Plans for TRIBAL
Laurie has also watched TRIBAL groups, members and conversations grow into an incredible community with diverse interests and goals, but similar values and struggles. While her Rafferty Kids group is a place where she and her family can share familiar stories and reunite online, Laurie is equally excited about the relationships that are being formed within TRIBAL but continue outside the platform.
“We’ve said often that the success of TRIBAL really is going to be in the relationships developed within the groups,” Laurie said. “And there will be relationships because ultimately we don’t want people to stay in the app. We want them to meet outside of TRIBAL, too, so the relationships can grow. TRIBAL will be a safe place for people to come and share their lives and find the support they’re looking for and also provide support for someone else who’s looking for some help in their own situations — basically for us all to see that we’re not alone.”
“The reason I get on TRIBAL every day is because every day there’s something new to learn about what the development team just built,” Laurie continued. “And every day I am more and more excited for what this can be.