Monday, September 20, 2010

The Stories We Love Are All Social

We all love stories, right? We've been saddened, annoyed, frightened, angered, perhaps even petrified, inflamed, and/or incited to action.

I recently finished "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel...and found this passage worth bookmarking:(image from
I know what you want. You want a story that won’t surprise you, that will confirm what you already know, that won’t make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality.
Combined with a friend's recent post about the Internet of Things (which reminded me of SourceMap, something I learned about at TEDxCambridge in the spring) I started thinking about how social media broadens access to tell the stories of people, organizations (and things) that might encourage us to see things differently. "Dry, yeastless factuality..." simply won't due; we long for stories that encourage us to stretch our reality, tell us something different, that challenge our perceptions, assumed plots, and endings in a way that's approachable and relevant.
In Pi's example, his story - though as true as any truth can be to him - was so fantastical to his interviewers that he changed the nature of the players, ending up with the same outcome that was believable to that audience.

So, assuming your story's the greatest story ever told (which it clearly is) and may be outside the realm of a person's acceptance of reality (their perception) might the story be told such that one's perceptions are challenged and yet respected? We're attempting to:

Tell the right stories to the right people at the right time where they are (media form & channel) in a way that prompts action (sharing).

It boils down to:
  1. Write your story
  2. Determine who you want to hear your story
  3. Listen for people that want to hear your story
  4. Note the difference between 2 & 3
  5. Tell them your story
  6. Help them tell your story
  7. Track the story
  8. Skip to 1 and continue to...
That was easy, er...except for points 1-7. They need some unpacking as well.

Oh, and if you have not heard of slacktivism, there's that sticky part about connecting what's happening online from your story the "real world".

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