You may remember I wrote this post about Storytelling after I delivered a workshop on Digital Storytelling for One Blackpool in January. Since then, Storytelling has become something of a theme for me, and I have returned to it for presentations for Social Media Week in Lincoln, and at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Wales Conference in Cardiff. Two important things I say to people about how they can use social media in their work are (a) tell your own story; why you are passionate about what you do, and (b) tell the story of the difference you make to people’s lives. And if you can get the people you help, serve, or sell to, to tell those stories themselves, that will be all the more powerful.
I was prompted to write a bit more about this by this story from the Times Education Supplement which poses the question as to whether Reality Television is dampening down young people’s aspirations. I firmly believe it is, as it presents false hopes and expectations to its viewers, something which I have also written about elsewhere. I have never really got celebrity culture, I think I grew out of that kind of hero worship as a teenager. There are people whose work I really admire, but I know little about them as personalities. That’s why celebrity tittle-tattle and royal gossip leaves me cold. I am interested in the lives of people I actually know, and some I don’t know personally, but who do similar work to me, not people I have never met, or have any connection with. That’s why I love Twitter, because it allows me to follow the progress of people who are similar to me, and who I know. I am not one of those who uses it to follow celebrities (except for the very few who say and do things of relevance to my life and work).
This is why I think social media, and its use for storytelling, can be very important. I am hopeful (and I recognise it could be a forlorn hope), that increasing use of social media will allow people to make more connections with others who have both direct relevance to their everyday lives, and who could be role models to those who need them. Instead of following the antics of celebrities snorting cocaine in nightclubs, or members of the royal family who make the faux pas of wearing the same coat more than once, we can use social media to seek out and make connections with people like us who might offer us pointers to success in our own lives.
I won’t name them here, but there are people who I have connected with on social media (and real life) over the past few years who I admire and whose work I see as offering me models for the way I want to develop myself. That’s why I think it is important for us all to use social media to tell our own stories, stories which are much more engaging than those offered by reality TV and soap operas.