What is it?
ShareGVL features people who live or work in the Greenville community. Their stories and photos are shared Mondays through Fridays on ShareGVL’s social media. The goal of this community-building initiative is to humanize social media.
ShareGVL grew from the mind of Wyatt Stephens, who was inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York while living in Manhattan.
“We had more similarities than we did … differences,” he says. Moving back to Greenville, Stephens knew he wanted to expand on this idea. Stephens met Eric Swofford through the digital marketing agency Curated Village in 2018, and the two decided to build community through ShareGVL.
Storytelling serves as a powerful tool to connect people from various backgrounds with others who share similar experiences — good or bad.
“What’s really cool is somebody like William Timmons who has been featured on our site to somebody who’s over here waiting for the bus, how they kind of have similarities, as well,” Stephens says.
In this fast-paced, technology-driven society, people can become easily distracted from those around them. Rather than focusing on differences among people, ShareGVL seeks to unite Greenville’s diverse community through similarities.
“There are so many folks here in Greenville that have so much wisdom, and it comes from what the typical person wouldn’t think where it should come from,” Stephens says.
Swofford wants to help individuals recognize and release their passions.
“I think in all respects, what I endeavor to do is to build community and make it easier for people to build relationships with each other,” Swofford says. “One of the desires that we have is just to create a platform where those amazing qualities, those passions can be showcased.”
From hearing numerous Greenvillians’ stories, Stephens and Swofford say the consistent message from everyone is that Greenville is a great place to live.
“People are passionate about being here, and they want to make a difference in their community,” Swofford says. “We give them an opportunity to do that by telling their story.”
How does it work?
Anyone can submit their story to be featured on ShareGVL through the online form for free. Although, not all submissions will be featured.
Everyone answers the same questionnaire about background, job, interesting fact, life motto, and more.
“We’re highly confident that if people are given the opportunity in our community to be genuine and honest, they will be,” Swofford says. “And in doing so, actually, we’ve been helping others see the richness within our community.”
Stephens and Swofford are looking to share real, transparent stories.
“I think I’ve enjoyed seeing individuals who have gone through a significant emotional experience and then done something positive for the community as a result of that,” Swofford says.
The two want to remain unbiased in selecting what’s featured on ShareGVL. “I want to make sure that our community vision is literally just a community,” Stephens says. “Sometimes the true, best content can literally come from the streets.”
Stories contain a human-interest aspect that everyone can find relatable. “What I hear people articulate is they’re identifying with something specifically in someone else’s story, and that is so powerful on a human level,” Swofford says.
Wyatt Stephens, storyteller/founder
Stephens shares Greenvillians’ stories through ShareGVL, where he manages media requests, partnerships, branding, and social collaborations. He also owns a digital marketing agency called Curated Village.
Born in Greenville, Stephens moved to New York after graduating from Clemson University. He then lived in Georgia for eight months before moving back to Greenville. He is the father of a 2-year-old daughter.
Eric Swofford, community builder
Swofford builds community through ShareGVL, where he manages events, business partnerships, finances, legality, and engagement. Outside of his work at ShareGVL, Swofford owns a financial coaching practice called Yes Eric, and he serves as a program manager for nonprofit Servants for Sight.
Born in Spartanburg, Swofford met his wife at Yale University and later moved his family from Boston to Greenville in 2005. He and his wife have two children.