[submitted to the Seattle Guild and Portland Guild newsletters]
People are hungry for connection. No doubt that’s one of the reasons that you’re involved with storytelling because you recognize this need in our society, in the world. Maybe we are living in the digital dark ages, but then again maybe there is something really valuable in technology that can support our efforts as storytellers to help people connect with one another.
Maybe it’s generational. Many people are drawn to storytelling later in life, when they have more time, when they’ve lived a bit of life and realize what they believe and value. But I hear over and over again how we need to get the young people (I’m talking the under 40 crowd) involved in the storytelling community. I’m not talking kids, although that is very important and wonderful work. I’m talking young adults, people in their 20s and 30s, and the digital path might prove to be an attractive way to do that.
But for some folks technology can be intimidating and time-consuming. Maybe you have trouble with email and opening those pesky attachments or maybe the very word ‘database’ gives you an anxiety attack. But I remember that my grandparents lived when there wasn’t electricity, running water, cars, airplanes, or rocket ships. It seems to me that the people who thrived were the ones who were able to adapt and embrace those “new fangled devices.” Today these devices come under the guise of technology.
Now there’s an easy way for you to be a part of the technological work through a social network that’s designed just for you. It’s the Professional Storyteller’s social network. So far there are less than 100 folks worldwide on it but you’ll see some names you recognize. You can check it out at http://professionalstoryteller.ning.com/. It’s a network designed for professional storytellers, people who make their living in the field of professional storytelling: performance storytellers, workshop leaders, teaching artists, recording artists, and authors.
There are all kinds of resources, including forums with topics like, “Dealing with a Disappointing Response” or “Do You Have an Agent?,” topics that many of us are interested in learning about. And you can make contributions, share your knowledge, help support the storytelling community. There are blogs, and groups like Storytelling in Education, or College Big Cats: Tracking and Capturing Gigs. But best of all this network gives you a way to see who is out there, what they are doing, let them know who you are, what you’re doing, and connect with them.
You’ve probably heard of FaceBook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Maybe you belong to some of these and others. The Professional Storyteller Network is a way for you to experience social networking in a friendly environment, with people you know or want to know because they are story lovers, just like you!