Facebook, deactivated. Instagram, tumblr, FourSquare, Path? Their all deleted from my phone (kept the accounts for inevitable later use). What am I doing?! Escaping the FBI? Applying for a government job? Nope, better. I am trying to start a movement. A movement to REVIVE REAL STORYTELLING.
Now, instead of little micro updates (which may or may not be mundane) I will be forced to share the WHOLE story, and to hear the WHOLE story from others with whom I choose to keep in touch. As of late, I have grown tired of keeping up with social media. I dearly miss getting together with a friend for a meal or drinks and being able to ‘catch up’. These days, you’re expected to have read every thing they wrote on their wall or their friends walls.
“Did you see me post about that horrible date I had. Ugh, what a loser.” Then she neglects to tell you any more details because you read the post, didn’t you? Or are you a horrible friend who doesn’t pay enough attention to her virtual life? Even though you are standing here, right now, buying her a glass of wine.
There was a class in college that I took as an elective. It was titled, The Art of Storytelling. Most of the class, specifically the females, hated our professor because while he talked a good game about the importance of good storytelling and just storytelling in general, he gave the impression that he was mostly captivated by the male perspective. This may or may not have been true, but he didn’t help his case when he made us read Iron John. Have you ever read it? Not the Grimm’s fairy tale it’s based on, but the novel by Robert Bly, the New York Times bestseller. It stirred the first movement I had towards understanding feminism and why it was relevant. Believe me, putting this book in front of a female who attended private art school was not the best way to encourage the heart to tell stories. Unless by stories he meant hate speeches that transformed into long, self-absorbed diatribes.
These mini-riots were always a distraction from any and all classroom discussions. Including the ones commenced every Tuesday when the prof would bring in one of his colleagues (many of whom were female, irony or tragedy?) to tell their story. All of these people had fascinating backgrounds, had experience in their fields; but more importantly had done other things to define themselves aside from their work. Believe me, at this time in my life I seriously needed to hear that.
Years later, I’m in the corporate world as a trainer at a certification class. The instructor says that he can’t stress enough how valuable storytelling is. People can better retain information if it is presented to them in a story format. It’s why most people will be able to recite movie plots more easily than historical events taught in school. We enjoy entertainment and our happy brain absorbs every bit of it. He says I’m a keen storyteller, and I’ll be a terrific trainer. I blush but also brush it off. He probably says that to all his student-trainers.
These days I teach English as a second language to Korean kids. I had a group that I worked with from their ‘English school birth’ when they knew not so much as the answer to “Hello!” They thrived, like little sponges they absorbed every word I said even though it didn’t make any sense. But the times when they were the most happy and retained the most from the lesson was when we would sing songs. One of my favorite all time memories from teaching English over the past 2 years was jumping around to Awesome Rainbows by Koo Koo Kanga Roo (not the official video, but the ones the kids preferred official video here) to learn how to ask a group of people what their favorite ___ was. Even when we were well passed that unit, they requested to watch it. Much to the chagrin of the other teachers. Sorry, dudes! You also might recall a previous blog post of mine where I declared myself the most awesome teacher in all the land for teaching little Korean children to sing and dance to Hey Ya! by Outkast.
This past year, I had the incredible opportunity to speak as a TEDxYou speaker. Not only did I have to figure out what story I wanted to tell; but how to tell it in such a way that could capture the attention of the audience for 20 minutes. It was one of the most rewarding a challenging things I have ever done. It proved what people had said all along- storytelling has the power not just to entertain but to engage and educate people. It helps us share information about our culture, and ideas.
Living abroad, I am surrounded by extraordinary people with a wonderful diversity of backgrounds and experiences. I both love/hate when a newbie comes fresh off the boat so I can interrogate interview them. I hate it because I know someone has already beat me to many of the questions needed to create a foundation (Where are you from? Why did you come to Korea? Hate your school yet?). I love it because it’s the only chance I get hear their story before we become Facebook friends and I’m expected to learn everything I need to know from that. Boring!
So this year for my new years resolution, I commit myself to REVIVE REAL STORYTELLING. I will update my blog more often and focus on connecting with people and staying in touch with people through email, talking on the phone/texting. If 2013 proves to be as formidable as 2012, then there will be a lot to talk about.
If you wanna know what’s up with me, check my twitter feed (@ph0t0ch1ck) where I will post anytime I update this blog. Let’s Skype when we have good, or bad, news to tell each other. Send a text/email if I’m not around. I’ll be better at responding now that I’m not consumed by other social media. Oh, and check out my flickr if you miss my pretty face.