So, what’s your story?

Now everyone can tell a story. With the rise and development of social media, everyone is a journalist and everyone has something to say. Words such as “storytelling” have become buzzwords. In this day and age everyone is a storyteller or believes they are. With various blog platforms as well as Facecbook, Twitter, and Instagram, any human being, (even some dogs, which is so wrong but people support it), can post, share, or say anything they please. Much of this information is irrelevant, yet it still exists and we all play a part.

It used to be that storytelling was left to the experts. That’s no longer the case. Words such as storytelling are thrown around each and every day to teach society that this is how you get people to listen. Storytelling is key. This is what gives journalists and journalism a bad rap. Reporters and journalists used to be the main source of information and who ever had the best story was the one that was listened to. Now, it’s nearly impossible to determine who to listen to and not listen to because what even makes a ‘good story’ anymore? And who dictates that?

When you type ‘storytelling’ into Google, you get the definition that storytelling is the conveying of events in words, sound and/or images, often by improvisation or embellishment. The last part scares me. It is worrisome to me due to the capabilities given by the World Wide Web, the capabilities given to everyone. Improvisation and embellishment are two practices that can be tastefully handled or completely overdone. The amount of times they are overdone is wrong. People need to learn when to stop when it too much is too much. This idea can be hard to grasp.

Today, Storytelling is often used to sell products not just information. Again, this idea is great but it needs to be handled properly. We are blessed with access to a wealth of information. It is so easy, as I proved above, to ‘Google’ anything. I believe people need to now more than ever be media literate and smart, because everyone is a storyteller and some are not telling an accurate story.

Shane Snow is a chief content officer at Contently, a company that connects freelance journalists with corporate assignments. In 2014, Snow believed storytelling would be the biggest business skill of the next five years. Believing that buzzwords come and go and that marketers are currently infatuated with “storytelling.” Snow then makes the point that the buzzword isn’t new it’s always been relevant. Storytelling is such an opportune skill to have. At the end of the day, a good story often stimulates action.

Bobby Rettew, another great mind on the Internet, is a journalist and the chief storyteller for Gray Digital Group. He posted on his blog that he hates the buzzword storytelling. He boldly states and I agree, that agencies claim they can tell stories, storytelling is a craft and some can be extremely good at it but you need to be aware because you can end up buying into a really good story that turns out to be no good. Great writers can create a truth. Great storytellers find “nuggets that touch people’s souls…

Be careful, be educated, and know what you’re reading, writing, and saying before you preach it.

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