Telling your story

How do you write an effective story. First you need to know your audience.

Once you know who you are addressing, you can decide how to communicate with them.

It was interesting to read some suggestions for storytelling from some “expert” story tellers. One comment referred to one-line comments. The storyteller explained that social change comes from compelling stories, so don’t be afraid to write a deep, meaningful story, something people can get lost in. The author was criticizing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Although I agree that there is no substitute for a compelling story, I do believe in telling stories through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The story just comes in a different form.

I took this comment into my own context: I work to have others “buy-in” to my story. Whether I’m selling something or teaching something, I want you to know why it is relevant to them. I can use Twitter to tell stories and encourage others to buy into what I’m selling.

I recently applied and was interviewed for a job position for the Georgia Meth Project. During the interview, the employer asked me how I would engage high school kids when talking to them about meth. Since that time, I’ve done some thinking, in hopes that I do receive the job offer and have the opportunity to begin telling youth the story of meth.

Meth is a catastrophic problem. Meth users double from 2002 to 2004 from 63,000 to 130,000.

I came up with a great idea. Tell the story through Social Media. The Georgia Meth Project’s mission is to educate Georgia youth ages 14-19 with the truth about meth use. They do so through their media campaign and with direct community education, primarily within the schools. As I was brainstorming about ways to connect to my audience, it hit me: Twitter. Young people are obsessed with social media, even more than me. We want to surge the area with truth about meth, right? Why not involve the youth to do so. They are the ones that we are trying to reach, aren’t they? So as I speak to the group and open them up to the truth about meth, I engage them through social media. I ask them to tweet throughout the programming, facts or ah-ha moments they have about meth. this surge of information becomes real to an exponential number of people. They follow the GA Meth Project and I follow them. We create a world of educated young people that are telling the story of the horrors of meth. If I do this as I travel around the state, it becomes a movement. It even begins trending in areas. The story of meth becomes a reality- the truth about the horrors of it, not just the addiction to it.

Stories are told- sometimes they come in books or long articles. They do need to be sold to the audience, but they don’t have to be in the traditional form. In this new social media world, let’s use connection to tell stories.


One thought on “Telling your story

  1. Hannah – Great thinking!! Social media is a great tool with teens – if you can engage them in the topic in the first place. Take a look at the Georgia Meth Project site and see what they are tweeting. I think they would be very open to your ideas.

    If you google social media and teens you will see how the relationship between teens and social media is a mixed bag, but has been important for nonprofits trying to engage them and educate them. Good post.

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