06 March 2014

The New Fireside? Social Media and Storytelling

You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.
~ Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Beginning in January, I am participating in the One Page a Day Challenge.  Hopefully by the end of the year, I'll have 365 pages worth editing.  I’m also trying to follow My Plan for 2014.  I may need therapy by December.  Oh wait…

his week, I’ve been talking about the social media fasting trend, offering a different perspective.

Today I would like to look at this trend from yet another angle – that of storytelling.

It is part of the very nature of stories that they be shared.  You could argue that your story ~ your experience ~ by itself, teaches you and forms you.  But that would be a very boring story.

Because the most exciting stories involve more than one person: a protagonist, an antagonist, and a situation that throws them together.  Now you have two stories: the one from the POV of the protagonist and one from the POV of the antagonist.

But wait.

There is also the stories of the people that the protagonist has come in contact with and the those of the people surrounding the antagonist.  Those stories also touch the current one, informing it, changing it, possibly ending it.

The Sociability of Stories
In one of my favorite movies, V for Vendetta, the main character, V, played by Hugo Weaving, tells Natalie Portman’s character, Evey:
"Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself."
This is the essence of storytelling ~ they are meant to be told because both the teller and the listener gain from the telling.  Anyone who has ever sat in a support group of any kind knows this.  Keeping a story locked away inside of you ~ whether it is your personal story or someone else’s ~ is suffocating for both you and the story.

There has never been anyone like us onstage before.  And there will be no one like us after we have made our final bows.  The voice, the passion, the angst, and the ecstasy that we bring to our stories is unique ~ and needed.  Someone may find their truth in our stories.

But they can only find it if we share those stories.

Storytelling on Social Media
Stories were traditionally handed down orally.  Usually around a fire, people would gather to hear stories of brave deeds, tragic deaths, lessons learned, entertaining and informing the rapt listeners.

The Boyhood of Raleigh
Sir John Everett Millais, 1870
It’s only been since the invention of the printing press that stories come to us printed on a page.  And now, with the invention of the eReader, stories come to us “printed’ on a digital page.

We no longer huddle around a fire, listening to an itinerant storyteller; we hunch over our smartphones, “liking” and “sharing” one another's stories.  As I said yesterday, we could choose to use the tool of social media to post, click, and upload stupid, inane things. 

But it doesn’t have to be like that.  The choice is ours.

What kind of story will you share today?

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

How do you share your stories?  Will you join me in sharing insightful stories this month?

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