Luckily for ryders in every corner of Europe, our mission is becoming more and more spread. The general idea is to build a shared view of the problematic transition young Europeans face today by creating knowledge: by putting together resources and individual strategies so that we learn to deal with transition. All of this requires a huge collaborative effort and the availability of as many individuals as possible. Our focus is not on “the young” as a category, but on the transition to autonomy of people of every age. Yet, every other mature person who hears about Edgeryders and expresses her wish to form part of the community does so reluctantly. Why? Because she doubts over whether the age or status fit what apparently is an Edgeryder. The answer to such concerns is as clear as daylight: YES we need you! Enormous contributions can be brought by people who have already gone through transitions, or find themselves still in the process, or simply have something to say about it. For the most restless of us, transitioning is never really going to be over. Furthermore, interactions on the platform are not at all reduced to people seeking support; the whole point of peer-to-peer is that you receive and give support in the same space. This entails sharing pivotal moments from your life and the lessons you’ve learned, in this way helping somebody who feels similarly challenged. With this in mind, let’s take the time to reflect a little bit on: How do we want to know each other? Here’s a set of values which in my mind our community should adhere to. Not only do these values govern peer-to-peer interactions, but they also stand at the core of how we communicate with other stakeholders – institutions, policy experts, social innovators, the media etc. The list below is by no means closed, so feel free to suggest others you think can lead to valuable interactions and output.
- Honesty => Authenticity. We are operating under the assumption that any first-hand, granular information is unique and brings a meaningful contribution to the overall puzzle. The only way to be able to find adequate support for your transition issues is to speak openly about it.
- Trust => Reciprocity. As human beings, we rely on trust when building relationships. When sharing information that is so important in our private lives, we need to do it with the feeling that it is received as such; even more so when the channel we use is different from everyday face-to-face communication. One wonders who the audience in the back of our computer screens is, but with Edgeryders connections are bilateral. Commitment to our story and to others’ is valid only if we believe the exchange is reciprocal, and thus worth our time and energy.
- Respect. What started out this project is the idea that young people themselves have to build the narrative of their generation. Instead of going for a top-down approach in which some government or policy maker points the finger at what's wrong and what should be done about it, we leave it to those in question to feel empowered and speak about what exactly they are facing.
- Initiative. It is very much appreciated and all that may come with it –creativity, boldness, originality. What we are building is based on all of these ingredients which are here to remind us of how our generation looks like and what it can pass on to future ones.
- Transparency: Edgeryders uses open-source software, making it possible for anybody to access related information. Once our platform is up and going, a lot of rich data will be packed, saved and eventually left as a gift and reference to future projects. And lastly, just as my friend Nadia would say, the idea is to have fun while doing all this work, because otherwise it is not worth it. I'll leave you in the company of my favourite satirist Bill Hicks, who tells us that life is "just a ride" and that we should make our own choices! Does it sound familiar?