In today’s online universe, we’re more connected than we ever have been before in the history of humanity. I can not only call my parents back in Vermont from my phone in Guatemala but also see their face while we talk. I can get updates on news events as they’re happening from anywhere in the world, via Twitter. I can know intimate details of my best friend from elementary’s school love life thanks to Facebook, even if I haven’t laid eyes on her in a decade and a half.
While some of those are probably more extraneous than anything else, a lot of them truly enrich our lives. To add to the mix, there’s a new social media platform called Journey whose primary goal is to enrich the lives of some very specific individuals – those suffering from chronic disease, mental illness, learning disabilities, physical disabilities or substance abuse.
The founders of Journey are best friends Taylor and Loren. They both started on their own journey toward creating Journey by working with people who were suffering from chronic illnesses (in Taylor’s case) and paralyzation (in Loren’s case). After finishing school they decided they wanted to make a bigger difference in the lives of people who needed it the most and Journey was their solution.
Taylor and Loren envision Journey as a place for people who are often marginalized in society because of their differences to come together, socialize, give advice, support each other and, yeah, gripe a little bit if they need to. They see it as a chance to create community for people with a wide range of special needs.
There are four main tenets of Journey – people should “Encourage,” “Inspire,” “Educate,” and “Learn” on the site. Encourage is fairly self-explanatory – creating a positive environment by sending words of encouragement to other members is highly, well, encouraged. Inspire also focuses on positivity, with members striving to be inspirations for others by overcoming and sharing their obstacles. Educate is more about sharing information about each person’s life and disorder and disease, promoting further understanding of what everyone struggles with. Finally, Learn is the flip side of educate – Journey encourages members to be open not only learning about other members but also participating in local events.
Journey will be launching soon and they’re inviting anyone who lives with any of the long list of disorders and diseases outlined on their page to come join them and the 1,900 others who have already signed up when they launch into beta. If you’re living with a disease or disorder, this may be the place you can finally call home.