Melina Garibyan

Storytelling in a social media era

In barely a decade, social media has transformed our world, the way we communicate, and our relationships in quite remarkable ways. It still changes and evolves unceasingly. Stories are the way that we process information and make sense of the world. This has gone unchanged for centuries.

What is happening now is that the tools to create stories are exploding. Today people have the expectation to be much more involved and to be part of the story, to create their stories and to co-author. To engage and get engaged. We live now in a culture of connectivity. Borders do not exist in „Social-Mediastan“. The „Netizens“ communicate via Skype, Whats App, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Vlogs, Youtube… all around the world (most parts) 24/7.

Time is negotiable. We can either communicate in real time about everything we want or go back in time. In closed private or in open public networks. We amuse, enchant, empower and enable ourselves with videos, flashmobs, quotes, memes, gifs and DIY instructions.

Storytelling has not only become a strategy to catch the attention of individual recipients. Through social media it has also become a way to break barriers and to make interaction possible, to create an environment for convening and supporting groups, to move crowds and to nudge our creativity, be it for political, business or private reasons. But storytelling in social media also exposes us to audiences which can agressively criticise and in the worst case betray us.

The world has changed social media just as much as social media has changed the world. Social media should not be seen primarily as the list of platforms on which people post, but rather as the content that is being posted on these platforms.