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For a second time in April, the TechSoup
Digital Storytelling Challenge partnered with the CommBuild
tweet chat. This time the topic was on storytelling and social sharing for
communities. The chat featured guest experts Michael Hoffman, CEO of See3 Communications, and Melissa Roberts,
engagement strategy director at Free Range
The chat opened with the question, "How does storytelling
build and strengthen community?" Chat participants offered a range of responses.
One chat participant suggested that stories build community because they
inspire members to take action. Storytelling unites community around a shared
vision they all can believe in and care about. Stories help communities
organize their thinking about the world and become invested in the outcomes of
each other’s contributions.
According to Hoffman, the collected responses
reflect Marshall Ganz’s three critical stories: self (who am I), us (what do we
care about together), and now (why now matters).
The chat then turned to the question of examining how individual
member stories feed into the larger story of the community. Individual member
stories matter because they allow members to understand how they fit into the
larger story of the community.
Individual stories also allow members to
identify commonalities and learn from one another. In addition, members can draw the
inspiration to share their personal stories from those of their fellow
The importance of individual stories to fostering community
inevitably leads to the question, "How do we get members to share their stories?"
Making the process by which to share transparent and modeling successful stories is key.
asking is often enough to get your community members to share their stories.
Asking can be done via your organization website, phone, email, or even
face-to-face. Contests, such as the YouTube DoGooder Video
Awards or the TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge, are another way to
Encouraging your community to continue telling their stories
requires sharing their contributed stories.
From an organizational perspective,
it’s helpful to have a communications strategy in place to guide distribution.
Part of your distribution strategy might involve sharing stories in email
newsletters or posting them to a dedicated page on your website.
community involved in your distribution strategy by using social share options
so they can share across social networks. Remember that proper distribution of
contributed stories also serves as a way to reward community members who share their
If you’re interested in acquiring more digital storytelling
tools and tips for your community, make sure to visit the official TechSoup Digital Storytelling page. While you're there,
join the TechSoup Digital Storytelling community on the TechSoup forums or
Google to learn from other social benefit organizations.