Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Storyteller: Best of Times, Worst of Times

Image from Jemimus

The storyteller is in an odd place today.

On one hand, a compelling story commands less authority than it used to. For information to be useful, for it to gain the deepest traction and the widest influence, it must be able to be turned into an app, to find its utility among the ubiquitous mobile devices currently trolling the information landscape in service to its user.

Stories aren't easily extracted, they don't fall into this paradigm of utility.

As such, the storyteller of yore is left behind. As the wise man or woman waxes on, appending one penetrating insight after another on top of anecdotes where the n is charmingly one, generation Y is staring at their phone looking to see where their friends are meeting up after.

And yet, as these mobile devices proliferate (some say metastasize), the storyteller's audience grows ever larger and ever more accessible. Never before has penetrating insight been so easily distributed.

I think the storytellers have lost the battle, but they've won the war. Sure, the audiences within earshot are staring head down at their phones. But. The world is inundated with information, deluged with data, and crying out for someone to make sense of it all. And sense of it all is analogous to insight.

Data is nice, but insight is priceless. Keep on truckin' you storytellers. Take a look at the data, information, knowledge, wisdom pyramid and take heart that we need your insight and wisdom at the top. You just need to get out there (on the interwebs), and be extra careful not to make stuff up. (Your authoritative tone used to win over audienes within earshot, but it doesn't work on the interwebs. Instead, just link it up and show us that you thought it through.)