Earlier this week I had the opportunity to lead a workshop for students at Harvard’s Kennedy School called Telling Your Story Online: How to Use Digital Media to Deliver a Message That Matters (view my slides). Here are a few highlights:
- We’re all storytellers — from the president of the United States to a citizen journalist on the other side of the world, to a teen YouTube star or a “mommy blogger” from Peoria.
- You’re already telling a story— the question is, is it the right one? Silence is a story, too. Claim your platform and use it well, even if it’s just a matter of being more intentional about how you use your personal Facebook presence.
- There’s an increasing body of scientific research showing the effects that stories have on the brain, which helps to explain what we’ve always known: Stories are essential to the human experience. They affect us deeply.
- In our hyper-mediated world, stories help us reach through the noise. Stories = influence, and stories = connection. Stories spread through networks, and they spread exponentially farther, faster through digital networks. Ergo, digital storytelling is a new form of literacy.
- The process for telling stories online is dynamic and cyclical: Plan your story, choose your platforms and tools, create content, and then monitor its reception and refine as needed. Rinse, repeat.
- Remember, you are not broadcasting: This is interactive media. Listen to how people respond to what you share, and engage with them — this is part of the storytelling process.
- Use your powers to spread the good.