Thursday, August 23, 2012

Twitter storytelling

A newsletter from Michael Margolis last week showcased the @NotTildaSwinton twitter craze as an example that stories can be told on Twitter.

What came to mind as soon as I saw Twitter and storytelling together was an entirely different example.  That of @AngelaShelton's Twitter stories of sexual abuse from April 2010.

I'm surprised that I haven't blogged about this before, it was so powerful.

Stories have been told on Twitter in several ways.  I know I have bookmarks of @NeilHimself and other authors telling stories 140 characters at a time.  It's a new version of the serial - a story spaced out over a given period in bursts of just a tweet.

As part of her efforts to raise awareness of abuse and its impact on the lives of more around us than most would realize, Angela told 3 victim stories over a week: a teen who survived abuse by her father and attempted murder by his friend and testified against both, a man finally coming to terms with a childhood rape kept silent for years, and a young woman still trapped by a father who trafficked her.

The stories were incredibly powerful.  The community that sprang up around them was amazing - fellow survivors who identified with each piece shared, supporting each other through tough moments.  I made friends with people in this community who I'm still connected to today.

Here's a presentation done about 6 months after the stories were tweeted where Angela talks about some truly exciting connections made during the event:

As I told Michael, 140 characters can force you to strip away any preamble.

And the connections enabled by Twitter stories are just as strong as elsewhere.

(Two years later, I'm having problems finding the actual tweets - here's the speech that kicked it off at #140Conf NYC)

No comments: