Hello everyone, and welcome to my first "State of the Barefoot Union"!
My, how time flies! Last year, as you all know, I took over the position of President of the Barefoot Alliance from its founder, Michael Buttgen and many of you have no doubt been wondering just what the heck I've been doing ever since.
First of all, please allow me to apologize to all of the supporters and followers of the Barefoot Alliance, for my relative silence since taking over the organization a year ago. This transition happened to coincide with personal challenges of my own, with my full-time day job taking much of my time and then a whirlwind of activity and changes in my personal life intruding on the rest, to the detriment of the Barefoot Alliance unfortunately.
Over the past year, although I've been quiet in public, behind closed doors in addition to trying to stay active on the Barefoot Alliance's social media, I've been working on trying to identify just what the Barefoot Alliance is, what it could be, and what I want it to become. I've been researching and studying other barefooting groups on social media, and I've been tracking the trends related to going barefoot with Google and other search tools. I've been looking at how we barefooters are branding ourselves and the reality of the small number of barefooters in society and how that translates into the power (or lack thereof) that we wield as an organization.
The conclusions that I've come to are that the Barefoot Alliance can and should continue to devote itself to the promotion of the barefoot lifestyle as a viable alternative to being shod, whether an individual goes barefoot full-time or part-time. The Barefoot Alliance will continue to operate our website with educational and promotional materials to help inform others about the many benefits of leading a barefoot lifestyle. We will continue to promote barefooting via our Twitter, Facebook and social media pages. We will continue to reach out to all of our allies, supporters and partners and join our voices with theirs to call for the larger social acceptance of bare feet and barefooters in our society.
What we cannot be, however, is an advocacy group that attempts to influence public policy or that actively fights for the rights of barefooters, because we just don't have the resources, the time, or the power to do so. Our numbers are so small, and the number of incidents in which barefooters are discriminated against is even smaller still, such that it makes no sense for the Barefoot Alliance to try to fill that role at this time. Given that we have no staff and no financial resources to work with, the Barefoot Alliance must very explicitly choose where our focus should lie, and as president of the organization I have decided that this is not what we should be about. We do care and will vocally defend those individuals who feel a sense of oppression when they are asked to don footwear against their natural wishes, but we just cannot fulfill the role of public advocate without tremendous amounts of work which the organization is currently ill suited to provide. I realize this might be disappointing to some of our supporters, but it's crucial for the Barefoot Alliance to build upon its strengths, and not become bogged down trying to overcome its weaknesses.
So what can you look forward to from the Barefoot Alliance in 2016? A renewed focus on building alliances with other barefooters, individually or within groups, and promoting barefoot living through our various online presences. The first phases of this renewed focus will happen this summer when we introduce a new logo and branding for the organization, and relaunch the website with an improved look, easier navigation and cohesive messaging related to this focus shift.
I hope that this message finds you all well, and please feel free to reach out to me anytime via any of our social media pages, or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS - Special sneak preview of some of the comps for the logo ideas - feel free to leave feedback on any of the designs you like!