In our written posts, we will explore a wide range of topics including modern issues surrounding masculinity and male identity, how men can connect more deeply with themselves and others, and daily, actionable steps that any man can take to transform themselves and their lives.
On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
We’re working hard every day to help our community open up and share with one another. As part of our mission to help men embrace vulnerability and the power of peer support, we’re always looking to identify the barriers that keep men from doing so.
It is with that in mind that we’ve implemented Verified Vulnerability: a feature that allows users to create a thread without revealing their identity.
To shed some light on the new feature, we’ve talked with a few experts about its creation, starting with our founder and CEO, Matt Zerker.“Verified Vulnerability is important because tethr, at its core, is about providing men with an entry point into getting the support they need.”
Below, we break down a few of the ways Verified Vulnerability can help.
The subject requires a deeper level of confidence and trust with other users
tethr users have profiles with names and photos because we believe the connections made on the app go deeper than one-off virtual conversations. We’re forming friendships and peer support relationships that have real-life impact.
“We wanted to make sure that there was a way for every man to be able to share and get the support he needs,” explained Matt. “While also making sure that the community wasn’t exclusively an anonymous forum.”
It takes time to form those connections and establish a level of trust, but it can’t be established without sharing. Dr. Darren Larsen MD, explained how Verified Vulnerability can play a crucial role in building that trust:
“Trust is built in seeing that other guys identity with his situation and that they can support even sensitive issues. And later, if he feels like he can, the writer can identify himself by responding to someone who supported him. By doing so the circle of trust is strengthened. And the conversation goes in a whole new way. This is a very effective and powerful addition to tethr.”
The topic or content may put someone at risk
No matter the circumstances, no user should ever feel shame about what they’re sharing on tethr. In fact, that would be completely antithetical to our mission: we want men to understand that there’s no shame in struggling.
However, Matt noted that some men may not be able to share under their name because of a risk to their safety or because of an issue that involved other people. We understand that there may be circumstances beyond a user’s control that prevents them from sharing.
Dr. Larsen echoed this notion. “There may be times or issues in one’s life where talking about something quite sensitive feels difficult even in a safe supportive community like tethr.” If there is a topic you desperately need to discuss but are not at liberty to share, verified vulnerability presents a solution. It prevents users from being in a position where their only options are to remain silent or put themselves at risk.
Sharing for the first time is uncomfortable
We get it, vulnerability can be unnerving at first, especially when you haven’t seen much healthy sharing and openness modeled by men in the past. When asked why Verified Vulnerability is an important feature, our CPO Burke White explained that he “ recognizes that because of outdated beliefs of stoicism and masculinity, that sharing for the first time can be the highest obstacle possible when it comes to men being open and honest.”
We’re changing that.
On tethr, we’re not looking for the curated, Instagram-highlights version of your life. We’re interested in the ‘real’ you. If revealing that feels too intimidating, you’re not alone. We already know that many of our users feel most comfortable reading along silently. If you’re in that boat but thinking about taking the next step, this may be for you.
“It is easy to sit on the sidelines and ready about other’s journeys, but pouring out some of your deepest emotions with your identity exposed can be a barrier too high for some men,” White acknowledged. “This was the basis of why Verified Vulnerability was created, to allow for men to open up about themselves without revealing their identity, but while still receiving the same support tethr is known for.”
Verified Vulnerability presents an opportunity for men to test out the app, if you will, and get a sense of sharing. In our experience, once you’ve felt the relief and comfort of sharing with peers who understand, you’ll never look back.
“There is tremendous power in sharing openly as yourself and we also wanted to make sure the platform was accessible to anyone that needed support,” said Matt.
If one of these options reflects your situation, try it out in the app. As with all our premium features, the cost allows us to continue fully serving our community and uphold the values we set out to promote.