The invaluable online community provides friendship and resources for vegans worldwide.
Before the advent of social networking, the vegan could be a lonely animal.
Protests were organised by flyers, recipes gained from books and friendships forged at protests or seeing someone else pick up a carton of soya milk in the local health food shop.
The ability to connect with like-minded people in a virtual vegan universe has been the hand that has ripped back the curtain of alienation for many fledgling plant-based diet souls. It also provides invaluable tools for spreading the vegan word, exchanging cookery tips and filling a diary with vegan fairs, animal rights protests and signing endless online petitions.
The internet really has changed the vegan universe.
Now there is a plethora of Facebook groups and pages to join “like”, bond with other vegans and fall out over pointless non-issues like “is it vegan to have children?”. Yes, sadly, for every four or five friendly, compassionate vegans, there’s a judgemental, “that’s not vegan” type who wants to dictate the rules of veganism as it exists in their head. Sadly, the internet gives these bullies a voice too – but, hey, that’s democracy kids.
Back to the land of loveliness and bonds of friendship. There’s even a Facebook group named Vegan Friends UK, and they really are a lovely gang. Groups like this even arrange meet-ups, so you can see vegans in real life, eat nice food with them and eve (in my case) get very drunk with them too.
Seriously, when society brands you “different”, despite the fact your lifestyle is saving lives and spreading a positive message, then an online community can be a lifesaver and real friendships can be formed with people who share your beliefs, concerns and attitudes.
Some people live in small towns where the only vegan choice is one brand of sausages in the local corner shop. Even such town are touched by the glory of internet in this technological age.
Plus, when it comes to a vegan life, there is a wealth of information out there on ethical companies, non-ethical companies, places to eat, how to cook various products and where the best place is to buy Jackfruit, Vego bars or a decent vegan chilli burger.
If we’re honest, even our oldest friends and closest family members can struggle to understand the vegan diet when so much disinformation is fired at them by the Press, so people tend to ridicule what they don’t quite grasp – and, then, they lash out when you fight back with a barrage of facts, figures and graphic slaughterhouse images. So, people can find solace in sharing experiences with people online – there’s always someone that has had the exact same issues as you, and that can bring comfort. In addition to this, there’s usually a meme for that. So, every time a meat-eater replies to a post with an oh-so-funny “but bacon” comment, the perfect response is usually just a meme away. There are also a million vegan agony aunts and uncles out there with an answer for every problem.
Of course, there’s no place in any online community for bullying. If someone is vegetarian, give them the information on dairy and then back away – do not badger them (all the badgers are being killed because of the dairy industry in fact) until they block you and do not abuse someone because they use a particular shop, business or are friends with someone you don’t like. Let’s encourage people to be vegan by being nice and friendly.