In our tribal days we used to tell stories, some that would last all evening.
Over time it is hard to say exactly what triggered the demise of traditional story telling but social media seems to have sealed its fate.
Our stories are now clipped and tight, often lacking the richly woven depth from days gone by. At best our stories on social media are able to be conveyed in video, sometimes in a twenty-minute TED talk but more often in three minutes or less on YouTube or Vimeo. At worst our stories are summed up in 140 characters.
Our technology has created a society with shorter attention spans, so short in fact that earlier this year a Microsoft study revealed that our attention span is now 8 seconds – that’s shorter than a goldfish!
Sometimes tweets, posts and video create the momentum for a story to be told in its entirety (often after a post has gone viral) but often snippets create noise by dumbing down and diluting important stories in our society.
For the listener (watcher, or reader) this isn’t always a bad thing, the rambling story that meanders in a lost fashion can be frustrating. Perhaps the clipped versions save time and can help the listener, watcher or reader quickly discern between noise and what they would really like to see, hear and understand.
So maybe social media isn’t so bad for our stories. Perhaps we are not seeing the demise of storytelling but instead we are seeing its resurgence in a new form. Perhaps we just need to be smarter in our story telling and more coherent in our social media posting. If we create a consistent theme in our postings and are authentic to our voice we can still convey a richly woven depth to our stories. We need to stick to our niche, our passion and sphere of expertise so we can evolve from quantity to quality.
Next time you post take a moment to challenge yourself. Are you creating noise? Or is this the opportunity to let an important story slowly unfurl in the public domain?
- Be clear on the bigger story you want to share
- Consider how can you use social to introduce this to your followers
- Provide an easy way for your listeners, watchers and readers to find out the full story.
The moral of this particular short story is think before you post.
Pauline has a passion for people performance and spent her entire working life helping organisations, teams and individuals perform at their best. Her expertise in the HR technology space enables Pauline Tarrant (HR Consulting) to operate as a trusted partner to the HR team to explore how to get the best from existing technology and explore new solutions that offer best-fit improvements to their business. To find out more please visit www.paulinetarrant.com and follow on Twitter @paulinetarrant