Short stories | Building a narrative with social media

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Social media, storytelling and public narrative. This version builds on a prior presentation and represents the inclusion of some new elements.

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  • Or as rod stewart would say…every picture tells a story, don’t it.
    The explosion because social media can feel like that – fragments flying apart
    But what we want to talk about is weaving the pieces back together in a meaning way, a narrative reconstruction
  • From rock face to rail car to storefront to …virtual
  • Arab spring
  • The Story Spine, originally created by playwright Kenn Adams, is a tool for creating well-structured stories. It is a series of sentence fragments that prompt the narrative elements of a story, and it can be used by itself or in conjunction with any exercise in which individuals or groups are asked to make up stories.
    The Platform
    Once Upon a Time…
    The Catalyst
    But one day…
    Then something change…
    The Consequences
    Because of that… (repeated as may times as you wish)
    And then …. Occurred
    And then…..
    The Climax
    Until finally…
    Then suddenly
    The Resolution
    Ever since then…
    And the moral of the story is...
    And the funny thing was….
    The balance: Once upon a time ... and every day ...
    The un-balance: But then one day ...
    The quest for a resolution: ... and because of that ... and so ... until finally ....
    The new balance: ... and ever since that day ....
    Viewpoints, differing perspectives on same event. Ability to open a story to multiple views
    Shifting frames……..
  • A plot begins with an unexpected challenge that confronts a character with an urgent need to pay attention, to make a choice, a choice for which s/he is unprepared. The choice yields an
    outcome -- and the outcome demonstrates the values underlying the choice and the inner resources available for dealing with challenges.
    Each story should include the challenge, the choice and the outcome. It’s not enough to say – I was scared. You need to say – I was very scared, I needed to decide, and when I
    did, I learned it was possible.
    Also, remember the art of story telling is in the telling, not in the writing. In other words, story telling is interactive, a form of social transaction, and can therefore only be learned by telling,
    and listening, and telling, and listening.
    Crafting Your Public Narrative- from a Climate Change activism perspective
  • Marshall Ganz - Worksheet – Telling Your Public Story | Self, Us, Now By Marshall Ganz
    The key to public narrative is understanding that values inspire action through emotion
    The process of creating your public narrative is fluid and iterative and can start at any place.
  • Not just aspirational, but concrete – grounded in the hard realities and working forward from there
    “Nor yet can dialogue exist without hope. Hope is rooted in men's incompletion, from which they move out in constant search—a search which can be carried out only in communion with others…Hope, however, does not consist in crossing one's arms and waiting.
    -Paulo Freire (1990, p. 91-92)
    “Hope, as an ontological need, demands an anchoring in practice. “
    -Paulo Freire (1992, p. 9)
  • Social stories – to be amplified in the next session


  • 2. A thousand words?
  • 3. We have always been storytelling creatures
  • 4. And our lives are ‘storied’ We are multi-faceted and multi-storied Aggregating and rearranging our social media postings can represent these facets And, as long as we are alive and tweeting, these stories evolve We can either be intentional or un-intentional autobiographers…
  • 5. The medium for storytelling is always expanding
  • 6. And the languages of story increase Puck Magazine, 1881 Internet, 1980’s onward
  • 7. Twitter 140 characters Ability to embed: ◦ Links ◦ Images ◦ Hashtags
  • 8. Tweet anatomy hashtagshashtags linklink retweetedretweeted
  • 9. Feature added Fall 2013 No longer necessary to follow link to see images Twitter – embedded pictures
  • 10. Twitter – custom timelines Introduced 11/2013 Allows users to curate tweets and create stories Easily shareable ◦ Re-tweet ◦ Custom timeline widget
  • 11. Instagram Capture images and video (15 seconds) Smartphone app – Android and iPhone Tags
  • 12. Hashtags…narrative glue # used to group messages on many social networking sites A sorting and metadata mechanism 3rd party services can aggregate across social networks (eg, tagboard)
  • 13. The Story Spine and Twitter  Once upon a time...  Every day...  But, one day...  Because of that...  Because of that...  Because of that... n  Until, finally...  And, ever since then...
  • 14. Curating narratives An experiment in storytelling Working with 4-H youth to re-tell Romeo and Juliet using social media
  • 15. Tagboard
  • 16. Storify
  • 17. 140 characters
  • 18. Storyboards and perspectives From : Matt Madden – 99 ways to tell a story
  • 19. Developing, and breaking apart, a story Just because the tools use 140 characters or 15 seconds of video doesn’t mean that the same rules do not apply. Storyboarding and preplanning pay off Once you have the story you can ‘parcel’ it out Multiple medias allow for creative expression ◦ Parsing out the action to twitter, dialog to video, scene transitions to images, etc…
  • 20. Every story has a plot
  • 21. Public Narrative Structure
  • 22. Telling along ‘the arc of critical hope” In stories that are meant to project our work forward we create an arc of the future. A storytelling challenge – find and tell the arc of critical hope Naiveté or despair are the easy arcs
  • 23. Tech mediating the story Multi-medias Peer interaction – it is ‘social’ media – opening up the telling to multiple perspectives, voices… Stories as magnets or sponges
  • 24. Contact Paul Treadwell @ptreadwell This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.