So we were all sitting around celebrating my friend’s son’s birthday, when somebody said…
“Are you going to the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival this year?”
“I’m gonna go. My Dad loved it last year and he drove all the way from Illinois for it,” a friend said, before sinking into a comfy chair next to the couch.
“Well, that’s good to know,” I said. “I LOVE the festival and I’ve been working like crazy on promoting and marketing the thing for the last 2 months. Go to http://capeSF.blogspot.com if you want the inside scoop.”
“I saw that front page article in the paper about the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival today and the whole social networking thing. You guys have a Facebook and Twitter site?” a friend said, eating popcorn from a bowl by the couch.
“I don’t use Facebook to market my business but I should–I know I should,” somebody said while watching his daughter dig her tiny hands into a bowl of party mix.
“I love the whole Facebook thing. I can just post something cool and share it with people. I guess I like to look cool,” another friend said, grinning and rolling her eyes as she passed her son a cracker.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t have known about the change to daylight savings today if it hadn’t been for Twitter. How cool is that?” I told them, handing my son a sippy cup of water.
“That’s not cool, Stephanie. That’s sad,” another friend said, laughing as he propped his feet up on the coffee table.
“I also found out about a contest to win a free book (which I actually entered), shared a travel tip with a few folks, and found out how long it takes to wait in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland, all in the span of about 30 seconds. I’d rather read Twitter feeds than watch TV. Regardless, whether it’s TV or Twitter, it’s all just cool content. I mean think about it. Aren’t we all just trying to find ‘cool content’ to watch, post or share onto online newspapers, zines, chat boxes, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter sites, television and film screens, billboards and emails?”
“Yeah, I get what you mean,” my friend said, rubbing the top of one foot with the other and shifting his feet from the coffee table to the floor. “I’m all about good entertainment. I’m just not sure that online stuff can compete with a good TV show.”
“You’d be surprised,” I told him. “When was the last time you forwarded a funny YouTube clip–just the thing to make your cousin, spouse, or co-worker snort up their Diet Coke with laughter?”
“I don’t email that much. You should ask her,” he said laughing, pointing to his wife.
“Well, I don’t send forwards too much, but I definitely receive them, and I definitely watch them–if I’ve got the time,” she said, plopping down onto the arm of the couch.
“The point is we’re all creating ‘cool content’ all the time. That’s why I’m so passionate about the storytelling festival,” I tell them, picking up cracker crumbs off of the floor. “Storytellers create the ultimate cool content. They are the earliest adopters of the Facebook status update. Since the beginning of time, storytellers gathered around the fire to tell stories. The professional tellers traveled and performed for kings, heads of state and clan gatherings. Then those stories were re-told for months and even years by the court and the clansmen. We do the same thing but instead of sitting around the light of a fire, we hunch over the glow of a computer screen.”
“Or an iPhone,” my friend grinned, giving her son another cracker.
“We’ve taken disseminating stories to a new level thanks to technology. Right now as we speak there’s this really cool conference going on in Austin, TX, called SXSW. The whole conference is about media and how to make it interactive. It’s all about making media relevant,” I say, pounding my fist into my hand. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival is low-tech. It’s just an audience and a storyteller. But, these tellers really have mad skills. They know how to tell a good story. And, we could all take some pointers from them before we write a Facebook status update and share it with all our friends,” I said, giving my son a snuggle as he ran and threw his arms around me.
“Yeah, Stephanie, I wouldn’t consider your Facebook status updates to be quality entertainment these days,” my friend grinned, pulling her hair back into a ponytail.
“True,” I grinned. “But, I’m not a storyteller. I just write and coordinate information.”
“Well, you’ve got the most important parts in spades. You write and you coordinate. Now if you could actually entertain–you’d be in business. Sounds like you need to watch those storytellers more than we do,” my friend’s husband smiled, standing up to go into the kitchen for a drink.
“Okay, fine,” I tell him as I watch him enter the kitchen. “But, you should still go to the storytelling festival. These guys are tremendous even if you don’t email or Facebook or whatever.”
“Can you bring food and wine? If you can bring food and wine, we’ll be there,” he called from the kitchen.
“Man, you just want everything, don’t you? We’ll be tweeting live from the festival is that good enough?” I called as I rested my chin on the top of my son’s head and held him close.
“See, I guess that’s what makes me a content expert. I can’t say I can entertain,but I can definitely critique,” he told me, carrying his drink and a bag of chips back to his seat on the couch.
“We need more people like you, hon,” his wife said with a grin.
“Nah, not so much. That’s what we’ve got everybody else for. They can Facebook, Tweet and blog my wisdom to the masses.”
“Done,” I told him, and took a long sniff of the baby shampoo smell of my son’s sweet head.
Stephanie Lynch is the Director of PR and Marketing for the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau and is a syndicated blogger on VisitMOBistro.com. Read her blog at http://www.semissourian.com/capeCVB.