For almost 70 years television has been telling us which stories to watch and which stories are relevant. Television networks built a consumer oriented identity, and like plump little babies we have wagged our tongues and let them spoon-feed us the expertly packaged goods. Without so much as a whimper, we went on autopilot and let them do the thinking for us.
But things are changing.
With the revolution of social media, people are now telling their stories, posting their stories, blogging their stories, and sharing their stories. This tsunami of social media has brought back the ancient ritual of gathering around the glow of the campfire to share the stories of the day...except now, it is by the glow of an LCD screen. A bit more isolated than the days of tribal gatherings...but no less impacting.
As we ride the steady hum of the electronic highway, we decide what rises to the top of our tribal chatter, not the Networks. We decide which stories go viral and which are shared the most...and these tend not to match what the Networks are throwing up on our TV screens each night.
Stray dogs dragging injured companions off of busy streets, inspirational poems and sayings about strength, life and happiness, a person dancing in every country, groups of strangers breaking into song at train stations and malls, a man bringing light into darkness by using Pepsi bottles, an old married couple playing the piano and a baby laughing. Not your prime time TV...but the tribe has spoken, and we like this stuff.
Now I know what your thinking...you are thinking that there is a lot of garbage online and that it is no better then television. Yes, there is a lot of garbage online. But there is also a lot of awesomeness online. Yes, I said awesomeness. And the beauty is that WE choose what goes viral. WE submit the stories. WE supply the content...not just a couple companies, but all of us.
Blogging, social media, and family search engines are powerful vehicles in spreading story. Our stories...not someone else's. Do not misunderstand, I realize that nothing compares to sharing and communicating face to face. But we would be foolish to ignore the impact that technology is having on story and human connection.
Next year, in March, there will be a coming together of three different tribes...each one chanting the same thing. OUR stories are important.
story@home is scheduled for March of 2012. I am thrilled to be a part of this inaugural event. story@homeis a conference that will, for the first time that I know of, bring together nationally known storytellers, genealogy giants, and blogging superheros. Three very different tribes whose lines intersect at numerous points. I hope to see you there.