Narrative and the Social Web

Narratives resonate because of their humanity. They are people laid bare. That’s the magic of baseball: the pitches and plays, themselves little tales of triumph and failure, connect to form spectacularly human stories spanning games, seasons and eras.

When I’m feeling cynical, I wonder if today’s youth are too busy writing their own narratives in real-time to hear those of others, even the ones that really matter. Can Facebook evoke empathy when its focus is so firmly on yourself?

But status updates and tweets aren’t so different from pitches. Each is a tiny story, from which we can glean only a little. It’s the aggregate that matters.

Social media sites don’t handle long-term narrative well. The stories get lost in streams and archived on pages in the deep and the dark. And how long will any of it last?

The narratives are there, though, if you take the time to find them. But it shouldn’t be so hard.

How can we use the social web to weave new stories, in ways never told before?

Oct. 1, 2010 socialmedia storytelling