"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

17 April 2015

Day 15 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge: O is for Online Opportunities

O is for Online Opportunities

The best storytelling, I believe, still happens offline, person-to-person, "eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart."

But, there are numerous opportunities online for the adventurous storyteller. I say "adventurous" because if you haven't noticed the virtual world out there is awash with stories. One could virtually drown in countless tales posted on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others. The rise of blogs too has opened the floodgates for stories -- comical, confessional, boastful, sexy, satirical . . . you name it, someone's posted a story about it or is writing something as we speak. So if you have an adventurous spirit, I'd encourage you to dive in and start sharing.

The Internet might have started as a place for information, but it's clearly become a spawning ground for stories and storytelling. But with so many stories out there how can you be heard or read above all that noise? There's no easy answer to that but you got to start somewhere so . . .

Set up a blog. Wordpress and Blogger are free and fairly easy to set up without any previous web design experience. This website is set up on Blogger and despite my best efforts to work my Luddite magic, it works for me. It's become a place for me to not only provide information about my storycoaching and storytelling services but it also allows me to weave a story about who I am and why I'm passionate about what I do.

Success won't come overnight, but if you persevere and just keep writing, things happen. I've been telling my stories on this blog now for nearly two years and I'm now getting about 150 visits a day and some regular visitors who actually interact with me. And you never know when a story you share is going to strike a chord with someone.

A few months ago, a story I wrote attracted the attention of a particular American marketing and story guru I admire. He got in touch and shared his thoughts, which were gratefully received, and then, to my surprise, tweeted my story to his thousands of followers on Twitter. Suddenly my site became a destination for scores of people interested in what I had to say. I didn't become famous, but it was gratifying to know that my stories were reaching an audience. "Tweet to tweet" doesn't quite have the magic of "eye to eye" but in the digital world the transmission and sharing of stories create relationships. And some of those relationships, as I have experienced, become more real than virtual.

In the last few years of sharing stories online, opportunities have arisen to connect with some authentic storytellers and storytelling organisations out there in a variety of countries. I have some regular contacts in storytelling communities in America, Canada, Australia, India and the Far East, not to mention across Europe, Scandanavia and, of course, right here in the UK. Some of those have sought my advice and I have sought theirs. And we've both shared stories.

I'm not saying going online is for every storyteller, but it has expanded my opportunities to share my love of storytelling and coaching. My online presence has brought me work which might not have otherwise come. Clients in distant and remote places have connected with me and working together online, I have had the pleasure of helping them share their stories.

If I was a more adventurous traveller and thirty years younger, I'd be off to meet many of these people in person on their home turf where we could sit facing one another and share our stories. But in the meantime, I'm open to the opportunities the online world offers.

What's your experience sharing stories online been like? Share below in the Comments section.

Now for a shameless plug: If you're in Edinburgh Scotland on Friday May 22nd, I'll be facilitating a workshop on creating your "About Me" or Bio page for the web. To book a place, contact the Scottish Storytelling Centre on +44 (0)131 556-9579. More at http://www.tracscotland.org/scottish-storytelling-centre/centre-events/2567/your-story-on-the-web

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"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

Blues and Roots Radio

Blues and Roots Radio
Check out my weekly storytelling radio show, The Teller and the Tale on bluesandrootsradio.com.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland
I'm grateful to Creative Scotland for its support.