(2023 edit: I've compiled a list of session templates at eacrews.org)
In 2020 I was introduced to "microsolidarity", a set of ideas and methodologies on relating to others in groups. Over the last 6 months I've been experimenting with it in the form of "crewing". This post is a casual outline for anyone interested in the steps I took organising crews of rats and EAs to meet weekly and:
I didn’t set out with a plan, I just did what felt right at the time so take this as less of a recipe, and more of a retrospective from which you might want to pick and choose some stuff of your own to try!
What I did:
#1 Collect "free electrons": I'd keep an eye out for people I suspected might be interested in crewing and would be fun to hang out with. I found mine:
#2 Connect: I'd reach out to these people to see if they'd be interested in a 1-1 chat
#3 Mention Microsolidarity: Inevitably I'd start talking about theories of groups or experiences I'd had crewing, and if they showed an interest I'd mentioned there might be an opportunity to join a time bounded crew coming up. If they seemed keen I'd add them to my list.
#4: Form the crew: Once there were 3 free electrons who've expressed interest I thought would vibe I just dumped everyone in a group-chat and we found a time to meet weekly for 6 weeks. I would just go with combinations of people that "felt right", but two things I came to realise I was doing were:
#5 Have an intro session: We'd get on a video chat and spend 90 minutes getting to know one another. Generally I found everyone gets so high on "new crew energy" that 🔥 topics of conversation will just spontaneously emerge as people introduce themselves. If the spirit of emergence doesn't fall on the group however, you may need to be willing to "stand up on stage" and act as a foil, talking about something you're currently passionate about.
#6 Case clinics: Case clinics are the secret ingredient. Over the next 4 sessions each person would bring some problem they were working on to the group, and receive 90 minutes of undivided attention from their peers. I would ask around before the session to see who was interested in volunteering to bring a case. Examples of some of the topics we've had:
The case clinic format involves:
Things I've been more intentional about over time that seem to affect how things feel:
I've been a part of 10 or so case clinics at this point, and with each I have more and more respect for the format. Having 3 other people give you so much care, to help you through something you're struggling with has been a novel and profound experience for everyone I've seen receive it.
#7 A graceful landing: Ending things well can be hard to achieve, especially if there was no time limit set on the crew. In the crews I've been a part of I've seen three outcomes:
And there you have it, my limited experience with crews and crewing, such as it is. If you want to try something like this yourself and have any questions (or just want to nerd out over groups together) feel free to reach out on twitter (@FilmerJarred) 😊.
I don't understand how this isn't just making friends and encouraging the formation of friend groups based on common interests.
I mostly agree with swarriner, and I want to add that writing out more explicit strategies for making and maintaining friends is a public good.
The "case clinic" idea seems good. This sometimes naturally emerges among my friends, and trying to do it more would probably be net positive in my social circles.
Thank you, I thought so too 😊And yeah, case clinics have given me a lot of value. If something like it is emerging naturally amoung your friends, then they sound like great friends!If you do try to expressly instantiate a case clinic with the steps I'd be curious to hear how it goes. I've been surprised at the effect setting an explicit format can have on how it feels to be in a group. Something about creating common knowledge on where we're all supposed to be directing our attention (and with what intention), can be really powerful. Thinking about it now I suppose this is how DnD works 😄
ha don't worry it basically is 😄, it's just that (for me at least) the notion I could put effort into making strong 1-1 connections with people and forming intimate small groups online wasn't really something that occurred to me to do before I started reading about microsolidarity.
May also be worth noting that the microsolidarity framework is about a bunch of other stuff beyond just crews and case clinics, notably dynamics that come into play once you try to take a bunch of crews and form a larger group of ~150 or so people out of them.