I haven't announced this yet, but in an effort to get Petentials launched that much sooner, I decided I was going to take a month off of blogging - it's more like 2 weeks off, 2 weeks in England, 2 more weeks off.
Still, I find that in the past several weeks, between moving downtown, ELLA Fest and Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal, I've missed hearing about what's going on with my friends and the people I follow but haven't yet befriended.
Just now I'm having a thought about people I've inspired in some way to publish a blog: Katharine, Kait, Becky (coming soon), Kate (with an E), Aleshia, Kyle, and Charlie. I'm not saying I'm the reason they're blogging, but I had something to do with them installing wordpress or registering their own domain (there are lots more of those people around) or setting up a wordpress.com/Blogger account. These people all have something to say, or wanted to have something to say, and for my part, I helped them find the method of delivery, and if nothing else, I read all the posts they write.
Here's my attempt to give one of those folks a shove today. My friend Kate (who lives in New York, not London) from Absent-Minded Improv, and SO many other things in Orlando, was having trouble with restaurant reviews last week:
I suppose I have no future as a restaurant critic. Maybe that Guide to Coffee wonâ€™t be as likely as Iâ€™d hoped.
The ironic thing about this situation, though, is that Kate is a writer - it's her job, her passion, her chosen profession. I don't see it as a problem, I see it as a failure to connect with your goals, or perhaps a lack of structure, but cerainly not a lack of something to say or a talent with which to say it. I reply:
I think the reason why you have trouble expressing this in writing is the medium - break out your still camera and switch it to â€œvideoâ€ mode. Youâ€™re an improviser, you can make this work.
Describe the scene to us, donâ€™t just tell us how it was. Give us a story - if you read any restaurant reviews, youâ€™ll find the best ones are very linear. They really only cover one personâ€™s (at most a small groupâ€™s) interaction with the store on a single occasion, with possible recaps of previous or return visits. Reviews are stories. Youâ€™re a storyteller. You are powerful. You have it inside you to make me love or hate a coffee shop in New York.
Think about it. Then do it.
The major medium (other than my OrlandoScene.TV videos) where I have made any attempt at storytelling is through the subtle art of screencasting. Search for the word "Flock" on this blog, and you'll see what I mean... I hope. Instead of just pointing at the buttons, you have to have a real example. That's why I only screencast when I have a real example to show off. Teaching "in theory" always lacks a bit of that spark (or it does for me). A good teacher can make you care about the project just by making it feel real. This wasn't always something we achieved in my Digital Media classes at UCF, but when we did, I didn't mind doing large portions of the work for the project, nor did the other group members.
What's this all about? Storytelling. That's why it's "vs. the Media". Their storytelling has been tainted by centuries of corporate interest and tradition. The new guard of Digital Medians doesn't have those blinders on (or we try not to). If we can stop trying to emulate what we grew up with and really create something(s) on our own (and use lots of parenthesis), we can change the world. Being a New Media Marketer, or a Podcaster, or a Vlogger, or a Teacher, or whatever term we may label ourselves with, is about just that -- doing it your own way. That's why I turn down more of the clients that come across my doorstep. They all want something that's "just enough", but that's never enough. They want a story, and I want to give them a story. If I can't care about the project, I can't commit to it. Sometimes I can care and I can commit, but I'm just not motivated. That's a personal problem.
This is getting rant-y and I'm supposed to be somewhere in 4 hours.