If you’ve read my story then you’ll understand why I am a huge fan of Gateway Women. In a nutshell, I found this site after reading this article about founder Jody Day in The Guardian. I’m exceptionally lucky to have met her in person and to know her as a friend.
Why I love this site
Gateway Women is my go to places for many reasons. I know that Jody and her admins are trusted and qualified in delivering support. I’ve never seen anyone left hanging, waiting for help and that I feel is a critical element to running good group because we all know how hard it is to be heard in a pronatal world. It’s reliable and constant.
Change can be tough
This network has been on Google Communities for many years until Google decided to close down the Communities feature. Change isn’t easy, especially when one has become used to how a platform operates and I know that Jody thought about a better home for many months before deciding on MightyNetworks. The trouble is that when we’re full of tears, anger or joy, nobody needs to use extra brain power to learn a new platform in an emotive state. It’s a bit like when we drive abroad and get back to our own country and have a ‘wrong/right side of the road’ moment. Or is that just me?
I thought I’d write a blog post about my experiences after two weeks in the new MightyNetworks space for Gateway Women. It may help you to decide if you’d like to go over to the new Gateway Women home and I’ve shared a few tips so it’s easier when you make the move.
The first thing is how good it is to see friendly faces. I had a welcome email within seconds from Maria whom I recognised from the old space on Google. She has so many words of wisdom. Then I set to with creating my profile which allows me to explain more about me, what I do, why and my interests. And forgot to hit save..! Despite that slightly foggy moment, I felt happy to give more details about myself because I know that it’s held in Gateway Women’s MightyNetworks site so there’s no worries about Google data wandering off. I don't know about you, but that always worried me a bit. What I also liked is that you label what you do, so I’m an ‘Artist and Creative’ (there wasn’t an option for reformed Goth, dog obsessed, activist and creative, slight disappointment) but you can chose to be a Volunteer or other lovely descriptives. It helps to find likeminded women.
Once I had my profile sorted with a smiley photo, I started to get cheers. Yay! These are the equivalent of likes on Google and it’s such a lovely gesture. I feel rather special and you can give out the same to other lovely folk. The notifications of cheers can be a bit full-on in the emails but there is an option to alter this in your settings so you’re not swamped. Once inside the shiny new Gateway Women home, it’s easy to find all the old topic areas including my favourite haunt, coping with other people. Oh yes!
As always there’s heaps of opportunities to share news and updates as you’d expect from Jody’s lead of a supportive community. What’s nice is that everyone is always sensible and moderate in how they do this so that support and friendship comes first.
Investing in your health
I don’t want to get sidetracked by cost as that’s a private matter, but I do know from running the website for Walk In Our Shoes and the work I do with other community groups in our field, that hosting a good looking, user friendly forum costs money. Decisions about money are not taken easily by anyone but I know that 24/7 support and friendship is priceless and even better when it’s in a private space away from Facebook which presents it’s own triggers as we all know. I know that there are several other networks out there (and one that is about to start) and Gateway Women is the paid service I recommend because it’s run by a professional. This matters to me because I’ve been traversing the communities and social media in childlessness and infertility for some years. The questions I always ask include what is the aim and does the person or people founding it have the qualities and skills (ideally academically endorsed or well reviewed) to deliver it. Are they honest? When I check them out on social media are there any obscure links to strange places or dead sites? When we think about joining private forums it’s really important to have someone leading it who is committed to welfare and honesty, who is open about their qualifications and ability because your mental health deserves care. You are too important to invest unwisely!
As well as a top team, there is a dedicated tech member who is collating feedback for MightyNetworks. That’s not so say it’s all beset by problems, far from it but it’s good to know that the platform techs are helping with problems so they too can grow. It feels so much more collaborative than Google. It’s good to know that feedback is welcomed and actioned as much as possible. This thread was also very helpful for FAQ’s too so I was able to get to grips with the platform much quicker than I did with Google Communities.
The look and appearance is very good. I like the typography and white space. As you may know, I’m a designer and I have a professional interest in UX (user experience) and how design best supports us humans. It is different to Google and other platforms, but a lot of what I’ve found in MightyNetworks is familiar. Instinctively it’s easy to find the right icons. And let’s be honest, we’re all looking for the light switches in this new room. If you decide to join, we may all be illuminated together!
You can find out more about Gateway Women’s move to MightyNetwork’s on their website here. And if you do decide to make the move or become a new member then I look forward to seeing you there. I’ll give you a cheer!
This post is an entirely independent review written by Berenice and not endorsed by Gateway Women or MightyNetworks.