Social media needs good storytellers

Social media needs good storytellers

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Storytelling is a special type of narrative. You are not just reporting events or communicating to get information for yourself. When you are telling a story, your communication is less about you and more about others – you want to engage them in what you are saying, to entertain them with your words. If you are to truly engage people in social media you need to be a good storyteller. And this is something not everybody is suited to.

The storyteller has a long history – from sharing tales around campfires, through the roaming troubadours of the Middle Ages to modern-day performers. For much of its history, true engagement was key to storytelling – people interrupting, questioning, adding to the story, or even heckling made it a real two-way communication. In more recent times we lost often this element – TV took us from engagement to broadcast, with the often the only engagement being shouting at a glass screen to express your opinion.

Social media requires good storytellers. We have gone through the broadcast era and back to an era of interaction and engagement. Where the purpose of the narrative is to entertain, inform and engage. And where success is measured by how much you involve people in the story, by how much they engage with it – emotionally and verbally, and by how much they change their understanding or behaviour off the back of it.

So brands need storytellers in social media. Not content producers, not editors. But people who can tell real stories. Who can engage people in what they are saying. And who can effect change in the way they think above act.

A story is an immersive experience, and good use of social media should be too. As reflected by Vyasa at the beginning of the Indian epic story, Mahabharata, from 10,000 years ago:

If you listen carefully, at the end you’ll be someone else.

The same should be true of real engagement in social media.

Photo credit: By Campfire by eugeni_dodonov