I started out in book publishing, pre-Kindle. My life’s dream: change the world one book at a time as an independent book publisher. That aspiration shifted as things started to change in my beloved industry, including the nature of what a book could be.
While we know that storytelling isn’t new, using it strategically isn’t necessarily something we consider in our engagement efforts.
Even if we’re not consciously telling a story—one that’s well-crafted and propels our mission forward—we’re still telling a story. And more often than not, because of the busy day-to-day that we encounter in today’s landscape, that story isn’t strategic, but rather, disjointed, confusing, and inconsistent.
A few months ago, I launched StoriesLead, a catalyst for great storytelling. And in a short time, we’ve produced two successful events, began nurturing a community, and have developed resources to help orgs, media makers, and companies produce stories that rock.
And now we’re hosting our first StoriesLab, a half-day event that’s dedicated to the exploration into the possibility of story.
So I’m pretty thrilled.
I’ve just been selected as a media fellow at the Center for Social Media at American University. I’ve been a fan of the Center’s work for years now. Their Media that Matters conference is a must-attend, and the resources that they provide media makers are invaluable.
I really look forward to working with the great team there. Stay tuned for updates on some great media initiatives deriving from my fellowship.
For the last few years, I’ve wanted to attend SXSW, the Austin-based music, film, and interactive festival. Each year, however, I’ve found convenient excuses for staying home: It’s expensive (okay, there is some truth in this); I can’t take that many days off from my business; I can’t guarantee that it will be worth it.
This year started out much the same. I wanted to go, but predetermined that it would be too costly and the timing wasn’t great. But that gnawing feeling—you know, the one that says if you don’t go you’ll seriously regret it—kept haunting me. It didn’t help that everywhere I turned—on the internet, in meetings, in magazines—people were talking about it.
In June, I left New York for Washington, D.C. It’s no secret: New York is bursting with opportunity, especially for those of us who work in media. I knew what I was leaving behind in the Big Apple—a growing ecosystem for media and story innovation, areas where I’ve focused energy for the last few years.
Landing in D.C., I was desperate to find a similar ecosystem. Of course this was the wrong approach, trying to fit the city into a New York box, without embracing its individuality. So when I removed unfounded expectations, I found talented storytellers producing highly creative projects, progressive institutions using media to engage audiences in fresh ways, and more.
Hey all you Facebookers, Tweeters, Google Plusers and the like, have I got a treat for you! In just a few short weeks Social Media Week will be upon us.
If you haven’t already heard, this massive, multi-event, event has quickly become the authority on the social media terrain. Their mission? To help people and organizations connect through collaboration, learning and the sharing of ideas and information.
Admit it. There was that one time as a youth when you thought it was a good idea to stick your chest out a little and talk back to your mother.
Before you could even finish the foolishness that was coming out of your mouth, she asked sternly, in a way that only mothers can, “Who do you think you’re talking to?”
Those of us who wanted to be spared any repercussions from an incorrect answer either remained silent, uttered “no one,” under our breath, or mumbled a quick apology. Certainly we weren’t talking to our mother in that way.
What had happened was (in no particular order):
1. Rebranded and relaunched my business. It’s now Pride Collaborative. We connect the dots between storytelling, digital media, content strategy, and offline engagement to help amplify messages, broaden audiences, and affect meaningful change. Secured some stellar clients.
3. Finished a standards-based curriculum for the NPR radio show State of the Re:Union.
4. Traveled around the country facilitating digital storytelling workshops for teachers as part of Slavery by Another Name, a PBS documentary for which I co-developed an entire, multimedia education component.
During my grad school days nearly a decade ago, I relished the stories of editor extraordinaire Maxwell Perkins nurturing a promising, yet unknown F. Scott Fitzgerald. Granted, by the time I was studying book publishing, tales of editors and authors toiling together for years to perfect a manuscript were no longer occurring in a business at the mercy of output, distribution, and rising production costs. Those days had been long gone.