Swifties and the Golden Rule

A lesson in shared joy and connection

At the heart of Reboot’s work is the Golden Rule - treat others and the planet as you wish to be treated - could a Taylor Swift concert show us how to do it?

I read an article by Priya Parker last year that got me excited. It’s here and I recommend reading it. Priya explained why Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Greta Gerwin are creating experiences that allow us to connect well, bringing our ‘best selves’ - with creativity, energy, kindness, joy - welcoming us all through their generous style of hosting their events.

As a long standing ‘Swifty’, I have to say this article made me want to experience her concert all the more. Thank goodness I have a savvy 17 year old daughter who was ‘on it’ with accessing codes to get tickets to her London shows.

I’d like to focus on the ‘Swifty’ community here. Taylor and her team deserve all of the accolades for an incredible show, but Swifties make an incredible support act.

Collective Effervescence

They create rituals for celebrating, sharing, and making memorable moments…

  • themed costumes - I was a ‘Mirrorball’... everyone commenting with admiration of each others outfits,

  • bracelets with lyrics to swap … I got my favourite bracelet from a nice girl in the queue for the toilet that said “ **** the patriarchy “ (a line from Taylor’s version of ‘All too well’)

  • The number 13 (Taylor’s favourite number) - one girl I met had made handfuls of transfers of the number 13 to hand out for others to put on their hands and wave,

  • Call and response lyrics invented for moments during the show … my daughter tried teaching me in advance, but I sadly forgot them all, and

  • Dance moves (we all saw how good dancing to “Shake it Off” made Prince William feel.)

I love the term ‘collective effervescence’ - meaning a feeling of energy and harmony when people are engaged in a shared purpose, think singing with a choir or chanting at a football match. This is what together Taylor and Swifties create. I admit to my skin tingling as the 90,000 occupants at Wembley sang together, and when the light-up bracelets we were given pulsed together in a dance of colour around the stadium. I admit to feeling truly a part of something safe, loving and wonderful. Taylor’s songs speak of joy, fun, love and picking yourself up over and over again when things go wrong.

I had a sense that we all related to this, the necessary effort it takes to live and love joyfully despite all of the expectations we feel we need to live up to, taking a risk each time we open our hearts. But its moments like this concert that make it feel possible and worth it - the attention, kindness, concern (Taylor paused the proceedings 5 times to direct security guards to people needing help in the audience - according to my daughter Swifties know to all wave their phone torches together at Taylor if they need help and she’ll give it), love and laughter that we bestowed on each other because this was a safe and beautiful space created for us to live this way. I can’t think of a better example of the Golden Rule.