Stories are Telling

by Colleen Weems

Stories are Telling

“Who are you talking to in there?”

“Nobody. Just watching my stories!”

“It’s ok, kids,” my husband says, “Mom’s watching her stories.”

The stories of my mom’s generation would have been daytime soap operas, but now my kids smirk, because they know I’m watching Instagram stories.

In just a few minutes, I’m treated to my friends’ grainy concert footage, or celebrities talking about their days – actress Busy Phillips is the reigning queen of the Instagram story, and talks just as easily about her MRI as she does about sitting front row at the Academy Awards.

Actress Busy Phillips is the Queen of Instagram Stories

I can watch world-renowned chefs making spaghetti in their own kitchens; artists and illustrators sketching and painting, like the artist team DabsMyla whose whimsical artwork comes to life in these stories. Then there’s my guilty pleasure: calligraphers making loop after soothing loop with fancy nib pens.

Calligraphers give us a peek into their process

 

Social media users are a savvy bunch. We understand #spon, #ad, fake news, and click bait, of which there is plenty, but we all still hang around.  

Why?

We stay for the same reason we opted into social media in the first place: connection. We love telling each other our stories, in picture, word, and meme. Story telling is the vein that runs from the earliest days of MySpace through Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and now Facebook’s newly launched story feature.

As passive consumers, we gobble up the pretty parts of social media – the curated shots, the perfect lighting, the ethereal colors and landscapes and incredible views of locales we may never get the chance to visit. It’s eye candy, but when our sweet tooth is satisfied, what satiates us? Meat and potatoes, the real stuff, one-to-one connection and story telling, even when the one doesn’t know the other one. These stories are often where the magic happens…where social media goes from the aspirational to the relatable.

Social media stories as they exist today are intimate, quick, and temporary, with someone – again, a someone we may not even know personally –talking directly to us, inviting us behind the curtain to see their cluttered counters and wrinkled clothes and sweaty faces.  

The fast-paced, temporary nature allows us a great platform for experimentation.

Shrewd brands and companies are playing in the space, sure with more traditional advertising, but also in telling of their own stories. What a perfect way to take your audience – your customers and potential customers – behind the scenes and show them how the donuts are made. What does your office look like. Who’s on your team? I’ve grown familiar with fashion designer Rachel Antanoff’s team as they trek to buy tuna melts, and then evaluate fabric. I’ll take advice from the staff of Portland’s Powell’s City of Books and New York’s the Strand Bookstore about what to read next. I’ve watched celebrities test drive cars, and regular people in downtown LA have their eyebrows reshaped.  

Bring us into your world, and let us see you do your thing, even if the lighting isn’t perfect. Tell us your story.

Instagram stories - eyebrow reshaping

 

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Colleen is a social media strategist, writer, editor, blogger, and avid list-maker. She has nearly 20 years of professional experience across a number of industries including public relations, non-profits, communications, government, and tech. Colleen has a degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California, and lives in the East Bay Area with her husband and sons.

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One thought on “Stories are Telling

  1. Hi Colleen! I sent you a private message on your FB or maybe it went to Messenger? I’m not sure. Who am I kidding. It’s me rambling on, trying to tell you My Story… Something I discovered about my family… and possibly yours.

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