Is Social Killing Storytelling?

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This post was written by Vivian Nunez.

6345ddede24a42ef5f00939b8c7f7c29A panel of top leaders in the communication field sat down on the Is Social Killing Storytelling panel to talk about how social media has changed the landscape of distributing stories, but not storytelling at its essence.

This is an especially relevant conversation when our Twitter feed curates so much of what we read. And a key game changer all panelists agreed on was the audience — anyone who can engage with the content virtually.

“They’re humans, they have a voice,” said Stacy Martinet, Chief Marketing Officer of Mashable, “that’s a very real change in how the media was telling stories before social media.”

Being able to, as a reader, communicate with your publication of choice has also changed the landscape of storytelling because it forces publications to take readers’ opinions into account.

“When we think about social and how we tell the story, it is actually intrinsic to the creation of the story,“ said Heidi Moore, US finance and economics editor at The Guardian.

This newfound relationship can also be seen as advantageous because of how easy crowdsourcing information now is. Getting user generated information to create infographics or mappings of how much people are paying for cable, like The Guardian is doing, is easy, fast, and done at an extremely low cost.

One major takeaway from the panel is that making content that is shareable is key to increasing readership, whether that’s on mobile or web.

“My writers generally try to make sure that they include something [shareable] in their stories, ” said Moore.

But at the heart of the discussion is the reality that storytelling fulfills a need for those who read it — it’s breaking news, features, or blogs that aren’t dated as long as the content is good.

“[Longform] doesn’t exist by accident and it doesn’t endure because force of habit,” said James Bennet, Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic, “it’s around because it satisfies basic needs”

And no matter what generation this is related to, the needs are consistent. As a reader, you want entertainment and to understand what’s happening around you. Social is just another way to get there.

Vivian Nunez is a senior at Baruch College studying marketing and journalism. Follow her on Twitter @vivnunez.

Vivian is one of our SMW Press Corps members, managed by OpenCommunications. Learn more here.

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