“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
It’s as old as the spoken language – the irresistible draw of a good story. One that pulls you in makes you laugh or cry or sigh or take that sharp intake of breath in disbelief. Cavemen told stories with pictures on caves and around campfires, we tell them a little differently today.
Today that story may be told in 140 characters, a picture, a Facebook post, a short-form video, a short story, a novel or a film. And some of those stories impact us enough to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Vimeo. We all know them – those videos our friends share on Facebook that we then watch and share or that tweet that gets passed around from feed to feed or a quote that you begin to see on every Pinterest board – those are the stories that make us feel. Sometimes the story is told in a short film that breaks all the rules of social media brevity but circumnavigates the social network at an astounding speed such as the Kony 2012 video. Released on March 5th, Kony 2012 was soon being posted on friends’ walls and celebrities were tweeting about it. By the end of March over 86 million views on YouTube and 16 million on Vimeo had ensured Kony 2012 its place in history. People had felt something. Has the Best Job video shown up in your Facebook feed yet? This two minute story by P&G weaves a global connection between Moms, their children and the Olympics with a subtle nod to the brands that make the job of being Mom a little easier. The video is beautifully executed drawing you in with visuals that are authentic, very little dialogue and lyrics that carry you along the journey from Mom supporting her child on the way to becoming an Olympic athlete. A global story told by a global brand. The video has garnered over 2 million views since being posted on YouTube on April 17th.
Pinterest tells the story in pictures. The pictures we pin are the ones that make us feel. Pinterest boards have become the virtual window into our hopes and dreams, our passions and longings, our everyday desires and whims. Retailers are now beginning to share their story on Pinterest. General Electric, Nordstrom and Whole Foods are active pinners. Focusing on a broad range of topics and not solely on product allows these brands to tell a broader story and connect with other pinners who now feel a connection to them in this story of pictures.
Twitter requires the story to be told in 140 characters or at least in that 140 characters make you feel enough to explore more (those tiny urls)! Twitter played a key role in the Egyptian crisis in January 2011 telling the story that mattered to the world. And while Twitter can play a very serious role it can also provide a more comedic story. ‘Sh*t My Dad Says’ was such a popular Twitter feed that it spawned a TV show and soon a book. Twitter provides a democratic platform for storytelling giving everyone the opportunity to tell a story.
We tell our story (to varying degrees) on Facebook. All the elements of good storytelling can be told in a post – drama, intrigue, humor, love unrequited, love fulfilled, heartbreak, happiness and joy, loneliness and pain, anger, frustration and denial – all played out on the virtual stage for our hundreds of ‘friends’. Sometimes shared thru a network of social media and finding a life of its’ own our stories become part of a larger story – the human story.
Social media has tremendous power when it is used to weave a tale that pulls us in, makes us feel and creates that irresistible urge to share it with everyone we know. For those of us creating those sharable moments – we have the opportunity to embrace this responsibility with integrity and enthusiasm, to create social media content that makes all of us feel.
Recently this evocative video popped up as a post in my Facebook feed, you can see it here. I liked that the video started in one place and unexpectedly took me somewhere I didn’t expect. Tell me – what story made you feel like you just had to share it.