I enjoy telling stories. As Michael Margolis, CEO and founder of Get Storied says, storytelling is about getting people to see things the way you do. It’s very satisfying to give people a closer look into what I’m thinking and feeling, as well as the opportunity to respond with their insights into the situation. Based on the feedback I’ve received, I’ve never had a hard time telling engaging stories, at least not in person. Starting this blog has made me realize that it’s much more difficult for me to tell stories using the written word.
Here’s an article that talks about how to find the right medium for online storytelling, and provides some really great advice about creating an impactful story using the written word. It includes a basic story structure that you can follow when crafting a plot, which consists of five elements. I’m definitely going to keep these in mind while I’m writing blog posts. When I scrolled to the bottom of the article, I found this “Tip from Joe”: “Social media isn’t a silver bullet.” I agree, social media is not the be all and end all of communication, even though it is growing in importance. At the end of his tip was this statement: “You cannot Facebook your way into social change.” This is where I disagreed – hasn’t it been demonstrated that social media outlets such as Facebook are powerful tools for change, even if they are not the main instigator of change (i.e. Arab Spring)? It was clear to me that this article was really focused on storytelling via blogging, rather than other types of social media.
I decided to look for an article that discussed how to effectively tell a compelling story using Twitter. After all, you’re only allowed 140 characters to get your point across. How can you make the most of the limited space you have? This article highlights the uniqueness of being able to tell multi-level stories using Twitter, a social media tool that I am largely unfamiliar with. The article talks about how an author’s individual tweets can be bound together using a common hashtag, which creates a kind of a “Twitter comic”. Then, if you search for tweets from that author using the common hashtag, you can view the timeline of the entire story that the author has presented thus far. Thus, the author is able to tell a complete, continuous story that the audience can not only comment on, but participate in as well.
I think that ultimately, good storytelling arises out of making a genuine connection with your audience. It doesn’t necessarily matter which platform you are using (unless you’re using something antiquated like Myspace), as long as you tell an engaging story that allows people to view the world from your perspective. I’m currently learning how to tell a solid story through blogging, which is a skill that I am very happy to cultivate. I think that an interesting challenge would be to tell a story through multiple tweets while strategically using images, links, and hashtags to captivate and interact with my audience. What do y’all think about telling a story through Twitter? Do you have any experience doing so, and if so, do you have any advice?