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Storytelling for Social Change?

June 7, 2008

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of storytelling and how it relates to the Digital Age. Storytelling seems to be something innate to being human, something we’ve done for eons.

For the past few months, I’ve been attending the Moth StorySlams in Los Angeles. Even though it’s a contest for the best story that’s told on a theme, I love the sense of community that’s emerging from the open mike event. I’ve even told a few stories myself. This month I also attended a similar event The Spark in Santa Monica and it was great!

As a writer, I’m curious about what makes a good story. As an advocate, I wonder how we can harness the power of story telling to change our world.

In my quest to answer these questions, I was excited to recently learn about a new book, “Telling Stories to Change the World” that was co-authored by a new friend of mine Kayhan Irani. This is exactly the sort of thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: how we can use new media to raise the voices and build the leadership of communities that have been affected by injustice. I don’t have a copy yet but plan to buy one! I’ll be sure to tell you more about it once I’ve read it!

On June 20 in New York, there’s a launch party for the book.

I also recently learned about The Center for Digital Storytelling and hope to attend one of their seminars in the near future. I’m sure you’ve also heard of StoryCorps which seeks to celebrate one another’s lives through listening.

With all this storytelling swirling around me, I’ve been wondering how we could use emerging video technology (see earlier post) and combine it will effective storytelling to change the world. I’m working on some ideas and plan to share them with you soon.

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