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Monday, October 7, 2013

How to build your community using story telling: The power of story telling

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another."
 -Seth Godin,Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Somewhere and somehow story telling must be a part of tribe/community building right ? When I went to the Digital Story telling Unconference that was the question I was searching for enlightenment on. How can you use story telling to help develop your community ?

Why is Story telling important ?

Stephanie from wildfire effect shared this idea with me through her interview with a Dungeon Master of Dungeons and Dragons. The role of dungeon master within the role playing game is create a main story for the game. However players also need to be able to create their own stories and adventures within the main story and is an important part to a fun and successful game.

As players progress through the story and fall into their own secondary stories, the dungeon master gently guides and ties it back into the main story so that they progress in the right direction. The idea of allowing the players the opportunity to create their own stories is critical. The reason why is because it gives those who play a real sense a ownership when it comes to the adventure. It’s these types of stories that can help you create a real connection.

Dungeon and Dragons Story
Dungeon and Dragons Story

Create stories for your community

I realized that you can apply this to concept to community building as well. You rarely ever achieve success on your own. If you examine your own success stories you can always find people who have supported or helped you along in your path whether indirectly or directly. Be the dungeon master to your community and transform their contribution to your community into a story for them that highlights their efforts as the main character and how they have contributed the community.

We often don't take the time to reflect on our experiences and thus don't fully realize the significance for some of the things we do. By taking the time as community manager to share with them the story of their contribution you tie them strongly into your communities through helping them realize that they are a main character in this story.  

We often hear about the importance of being humble and appreciate when it comes to success. Its powerful because every time you do it you bring another supporting character into your communities larger narrative. If your looking to build a community then you need opportunities for others to be a part of your story. 

My illustration of how story telling can help build your community

Giving the gift of story

We are looking for opportunities to have our own stories, our own adventures and our own success. By recognizing and providing stories for those who have helped, you wont only strengthen their ties to your communities but it will also help you grow it as well. Take a look at the reasons why people use Facebook and you can see that we use it to see what our friends are up to. When you provide positive recognition and transform them into a main character of a great story you can bet it will be shared with their peers.

Statistics why people use facebook
Source: Social Brite

Organisations building community through stories

Organisations who recognise the power of storytelling for community building have dedicated entire sites to them. Facebook for example has an entire site to stories. Tumblr and Twitter have done something similar with Storyboard and @twitterstories, respectively. All of it helps in creating meaning for those who are a part of their community and to strengthen those who are a part of it.

Allowing others to create stories within yours

I never realised it but story telling can be a very powerful form of community building. Stories can  provide people with explanation and meaning. We are looking for opportunities to have our own stories, our own adventures and our own success. How can you bring people into being a part of your communities story ? By giving them an opportunity to create their own story within yours.

My group at the Digital Story Telling Unconference 2013

Networking workshop with Stevie

There are a lot of benefits to networking especially when it comes to your building your community. I'm hosting a free workshop this week teaching people the framework and techniques I use when it comes to professional networking. 

Link to workshop on professional networking and Linkedin

By Stevie Vu

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