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Story Links

Photo: Ron Mader, Beans (Some rights reserved)

What would those in the know like others understand about stories and storytelling? Presenting relevant links in a somewhat random fashion:

Storytelling = Conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation

“You can’t just change the image or the stories, you need to change the storytellers.”
Elaine Welteroth

And your life is a story like the wind
– Johnny Clegg, Great Heart

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live
Joan Didion

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
– Maya Angelou

A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves. Sick storytellers can make nations sick. Without stories we would go mad. Life would lose it’s moorings or orientation… Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger.
Ben Okri

Is our storytelling keeping up with our diverse cultural reality?
Beyond the Anglosphere, ABC (2009)

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
– Hannah Arendt

Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
– Laurie Anderson

Why is digital storytelling so amazing? All things digital overcome geographical, cultural and language barriers and reach audiences far and wide.Storytelling empowers communities to shape their identities, pass on traditions and build connections within and beyond their own community. Stories have the power to teach, entertain, express, advocate and organize.
Multistory Project

The secret to drama is the artful reveal of information. You don’t let them know too soon, you don’t let them know too late. It’s got to be the exact right moment.
– Daniel Alarcón, This is Radio @radioambulante

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
– Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Biggest barrier is lack of imagination and narrative. One we get narrative, we can move quickly.
– Jeremy Rifkin, thersa.org @JeremyRifkin

At its core, storytelling is the art of using language, vocalization, and/or physical movement and gesture to reveal the elements and images of a story to a specific, live audience. A central, unique aspect of storytelling is its reliance on the audience to develop specific visual imagery and detail to complete and co-create the story.
– National Storytelling Association

Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.
~ Seth Godin

In this age of information overload, real storytelling still captures people’s hearts and minds.
Skye Grove

Cape town has a million stories to tell. Please not two. This is false. The economy is not binary. It is quantum
– Ian, Twitter

We can never have enough stories.
– Sally Morgan, Awaye

It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.
– Native American Proverb

Those who tell the stories rule the world.
– Hopi Proverb

Our focus is all about social and cultural, not just plain economics … The market out there doesn’t just want a mass produced product, but they want the story behind the product. They want to know there are gains to indigenous people from where it comes.
– Pat Torres, wild harvest businesswoman based in Broome, The future of bush food, detail

Seek out and create stories that make you feel that the universe is friendly and life is on your side.
– Rob Brezsny, Free Will Astrology

All of these stories are open, and what survives is not what happened but what gets told, and what gets told can change.
David Malouf

The story of my life without a story is not a life.
– Margaret Atwood, Debt

Communication is not enough nor is conversation. They must be used to share stories.
– Conversation

In February Jon Stewart noted that Fox News had stopped showing President Obama’s widely praised meeting with Republican leaders while CNN and MSNBC had carried it start to finish. Mimicking a Fox anchor, Mr. Stewart said, “We’re gonna cut away because” — humorous pause — “this is against the narrative that we present.”
Jon Stewart’s Punching Bag, Fox News

Thankfully, states, counties, and cities are beginning to recognize the logic of investing in the story — the very products and experiences that provide a sense of belonging for tourists, not to mention community assets for residents.
– Dan Shilling, Be Tenacious, Civic tourism

Stories survive partly because they remind us of what we know and partly because they call us back to what we consider significant.
– Robert Fulford, The Triumph of Narrative: Storytelling in the Age of Mass Culture

Students today are often immersed in an environment where they learn subjects that have truth and beauty embedded in them, but the way they are taught is compartmentalized so that truth and beauty are not always evident.
– David Bolinsky, David Bolinsky animates a cell

Everybody has a story to tell.
– Conversation

Every seashell has a story to tell … if you’re listening.
– They might be giants, metal detector

I consider myself a conscious, occasionally responsible person. I am certainly responsible for my actions. Would I buy myself a responsible lunch? Would I go to see a responsible film? Would I wear a responsible pair of swimming trunks? Would I have a responsible night out with a responsible lady? NO, but I would consider the authenticity and the provenance of all of those things. So where do the accommodation providers stand? Confused, I think. They must be, after all the main benefits of sustainability, and sustainable certification to them are saving money, time and energy and getting nicer, better, more, clients. So why aren’t they forming a queue (line)? I guess they are confused.
– Valere Tjolle

Aboriginal/Indigenous Tours
What makes the tour authentic is not the rock art but the story.
– Willie Gordon

Storysharing is about sharing knowledge, culture, beliefs. You ‘share’ knowledge, culture, beliefs – you don’t ‘tell’ them. ‘Sharing’ implies that the listener is going to hear something special. Sharing has an element of reciprocity (privilege, responsibility).
– Judy and Willie. guurrbitours.blogspot.com

Recommended Listening
Why do stories matter – The Why Factor – Telling stories is one of the ways we connect to one and other. Stories teach us empathy and allow us to feel what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. They evolve to show us what our society considers acceptable – and what will not be forgiven. Sandra Kanthal explores why stories matter.

What happens in Vegas stays on TripAdvisor – Ever wondered how to write a best seller? Start your research by reading TripAdvisor reviews for Las Vegas: there are ups, downs, tragedy, joy and heartbreak. Tom Van Laer, associate professor of narratology, University of Sydney.

The stories we tell ourselves – Ever wondered how the stories we tell about our own lives shape the people we are?

Eyes Wide Shut: conservation and the ethics of wildlife documentaries – Wildlife films offer magnificent windows into nature but is their romanticised view of wilderness hiding the darker side of habitat destruction and threatened species?

We can never have enough stories – In this wide-ranging conversation, Sally Morgan speaks about a new anthology she’s edited, Heartsick for Country, the protection of rock art sites in the Pilbara threatened by mining and her personal journey since My Place was first published.

The Universe Is Made of Stories – The poet Muriel Rukeyser said the universe is composed of stories, not of atoms. The physicist Werner Heisenberg declared that the universe is made of music, not of matter.

‘The Monkey King’ – Professional storyteller Diane Wolkstein discusses the great Chinese epic The Monkey King: Journey to the West. Written in the sixteenth century, the story recounts the adventures of the all-powerful Monkey King, and the determined Tang Priest.

The storytelling model of journalism – Stories are entertaining, evocative and illuminating, but is journalism too obsessed with a certain kind of narrative arc to the detriment of everything else? What falls by the wayside when the media views the word through the prism of the story?

Evolution of Storytelling – It’s the oldest form of sharing knowledge and culture but in a rapidly changing world, what is the importance of oral history and has this voice been silenced?

Recommended Viewing
Recollections (of a Bleeding Heart): Don Watson in Conversation – Don Watson reflections on narration and its role in politics

Daniel Johns & Josh Wakely – My Mind’s Own Melody – Want to see storytelling and collaboration in action and in music? Here’s an gobsmacking, awesome video with inspiring lessons from Sydney TedX featuring Daniel Johns and Josh Wakely:

1. Narrative is melody and melody is storytelling.
2. The closest collaborations often occur when the collaborators have skills that are diametrically opposed.
3. The storyteller’s job is to question.
4. What works works.

What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story? – Alexis Wright/Meanjin

Elsewhere on the Web
Eco-friendly events can leave large, unfriendly footprints – G. Jeffrey MacDonald/USA Today
Do Your Travel Stories Put People to Sleep?
Not-for-profit’s have the gift of stories
Telling our stories in new mediums – Deborah McLaren
Hiding the Real Africa – CJR
Institutional Blogs: Different Voices, Different Value
Trend watching
Storytelling, social networking, destination marketing: selling tourism online
The Power of Community Storytelling

Meta Examples


Embedded Tweets


South Africa: Coffeebean Routes

Exploring Engagement
What have we learned? Sustainability requires engagement that comes with empathy. Sharing with others the stories of what has been done and what we would like to see allows us to exchange lessons that help us all.

We have prepared a worksheet for those working toward sustainable practices to tell their own stories using off-the-shelf and most often free web tools. Mind you, it’s not just about online communication, it’s about making the connections and understanding the opportunities at hand.

Storytelling now
Contando histórias ya

Some background. A decade ago Planeta dedicated one of our ‘issues’ to Storytelling which launched a discussion that continues today. Technical innovations in the past ten years have revolutionized digital communication and the opportunities for storytelling. Whereas we had email and telephone service a decade ago, we now have increasing options, including Flickr and YouTube and the galaxy we call the social web.

Does The Media Help Or Hinder Science?

I enjoyed this talk immensely. Props should be given to The Science Show — http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow — which regularly features the PhD of the week.
Two points caught my attention:
1) There is more than one narrative. I’m not talking about junk science, but rather the notion that effective storytelling calls upon multiple voices. There is far too much control from institutions or from individual scientists that declare ‘my way or the highway.’
2) Media does a good job at starting the conversation, but could it do a better job of continuing the conversation? I would love to see the ABC wiki that connects the dots and provides depth to the breadth of breaking news.
Personally, I am speaking with Australian scientists and naturalists this year in regard to parks and protected areas. Australia hosts the World Parks Congress in November and I would love access to a directory of talented scientists working in the field on biodiversity conservation. Extra points if they have Twitter and can participate in a Google hangout.

The Hook (Gancho)
Stories are not stories if they do not have an angle of interest to the specific audience

Are there stories you have heard that you think should be accessible more widely? Let us know what you’ve overheard.

Unique Selling Point
Story has become the unique selling point, not the product.


Basic Lessons
You cannot control how your story is told, but you can influence the storytelling. Too often travelers base their ideas about a particular place on headline news. This ignores the 99% of ‘reality’ that escapes the confines of ‘reality TV.’ Visitors and locals have an unprecedented opportunity to co-create stories on the ground and on the web.

we can avoid the digital ‘echo-chamber’ by purposefully seeking out voices different than our own

what’s on your wunschliste?

adventure – maori adventure

no good deed goes unpunished

human brains are wired to listen to stories, particularly human interest stories
memories are tied to stories

How do we adapt the changing narratives of travel and tourism?

The incredible rise of indigenous tourism businesses in the past 10 years … ITBW Award

More recently in 2009 I titled my presentation Storytelling Now and gave a how-to presentation to participants at the Responsible Tourism Conference in Belize.

The following are working notes that attempt to tie these presentations together and set the stage for the 2010 Reisepavillon in which we present the winners of the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award.

We need to link better

We have a communication gap …

The Social Web
seize the opportunity to use the new technologies to document the history of today

curious timing – overseas news bureaus are being closed at record rates, most likely to receive news from a capital city

less use of parachute journalists, to which i’d argue is not all a bad thing, but not much else has come to take its place

in a time of increasing globalization, when what happens there affects us here, one could argue that we need better information, not less

How should our work be measured? I’d submit it should be based on how well we pay attention and LISTEN to marginalized voices, how we share their stories and equally important, how we encourage these people to tell their own stories. The work of Planeta.com is that of participatory journalism – that of co-creating a story, hopefully one that contributes to a better world.
Interpretation @ Scottish Natural Heritage
Interpretation is about telling a story… Interpretation is a vital part of how people experience the places they visit – our towns and countryside, our historic sites and monuments, our museums and galleries. Good interpretation will leave your visitors feeling connected, inspired and alive with curiosity. They will understand your site or collection better. They will enjoy themselves more and are more likely to return (or at least tell their friends and family to visit). The following pages provide some introductory guidance on interpretation, and show you where to go for further information and advice.
Interpretive planning
Writing effective interpretation
Producing interpretive panels
Making interpretation accessible for all
Evaluating interpretation
Good practice guidelines

Working draft
Planeta.com began in 1994. The history of Planeta.com is also a snapshot of how ‘content acquisition’ has changed. It was a traditional print newsletter, at the same time there was this hip gopher thing. How do we acquire or change texts?

education – for those people who are unable to go school, what are the options?

People are looking for trust – can I send my clients, my family somewhere else? Can I trust you with what I value most in the world?

the wave of technological innovation has been relentless the past two decades and shows no signs of slowing down. Are there ways of using these tools to improve the interaction among locals and visitors?

when you listen, everything changes
if the learner hasn’t learnt, the teacher hasn’t taught
the need for case studies


  • Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French eschiver (3d present eschiu) of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German sciuhen to frighten off —

: to avoid habitually especially on moral or practical grounds

focus attention on where the conversations are taking place and create places and events where significant conversations can take place.

what color is a football? Is it white, is it brown, is it red? Good thing this is a multiple choice question as there is more than one correct answer.

mistaking conversation with conversion

Telling the story of a place is bigger than anyone person or initiative.

7 billion people have their stories to tell. There are also stories from the non-human world.

As we develop green travel, ecotourism and responsible travel, what stories do we want to share? What stories do we need to hear?

Let’s consider the role we play in storytelling — as story tellers and story listeners. What stories do we want to tell … … and how do we encourage others to develop their story-telling skills?

How are locals and travelers using cutting edge and traditional communication tools?
How are skills transmitted from one generation to another or from grandparents to grandchildren and vice-versa?

A narrative is a story that is created in a constructive format (written, spoken, poetry, prose, images, song, theater or dance) that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. It derives from the Latin verb narrare, which means “to recount” and is related to the adjective gnarus, meaning “knowing” or “skilled“.

Exposition provides background and inform the readers about the plot, character and setting.


Checkhov’s first law of narrative – One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.

stones in the road
I’m at an impasse. I find little to no useful information from the established tourism or conservation authorities. The mom and pop tourism businesses for which Planeta.com strives to talk up are reluctant to speak out in public (and even moreso on the Web) for fear of Tall Poppy Syndrome or some sort of humility that deserves its own moniker. That said, I’m not giving up. There has to be a way of bridging the gap and connecting what locals what to show and what visitors want to see.

One of the perks of being human is being aware – conscious – of our own life stories and those of others. To live compassionately, to engage empathetically with others are challenges that provide the depth of experiences. Staying human requires a mindful attitude and respect of our stories and those of others. Bottom line – storytelling is a critical ingredient in developing and maintaining sustainable practices.

What are the core values of your organization … and what tools are you using to show this? How are you engaging others?

When we wish to tell our stories, do we understand how to use / manipulate new technologies?

Improving communication skills often takes the 11th or 12th place on a 10-point priority list.

Tell me a story



Defining Storytelling
The story is the relived performance or recitation of a series of events in which one makes choices and must live according to the consequences. See ethics

Novels and TV shows are relatively new phenomenon


What happens when a museum gets more visitors through its website than its front door?
Does community tourism work?

Where do we stand in early 2014? Talking to close friends and colleagues around the world, it’s clear that tourism and travel are undergoing a tremendous transformation. Perhaps humans are becoming more compassionate, more empathetic. The movement toward responsible travel and ecotourism is accelerating, so if you haven’t been on this bandwagon, now’s a good time to jump on. And if you’ve been working toward such noble goals as peace, love and understanding, get ready for an accelerated ride.

Are the small accommodations/tour providers becoming more successful in getting their stories across? Also, what sort of political background would you like to see when it comes to defining the sustainability agenda?

How are we creating stories that connect locals and visitors?

Examples – Te Papa Museum/Our Space

How to wander with purpose – Paul Isakson
Some interesting ideas about storytelling and the importance of good stories
“It is better to have a bigger purpose and some firm beliefs to guide you, than it is to have a plan.” – I agree with this although having a plan is important too!

The International Storytelling Center

Kiran Singh Sirah discusses the power and artistry of storytelling as an ancient art form and as the world’s oldest form of communication. He also discusses what he describes as one of the greatest community-building tools that we can use to foster, cultivate and strengthen peace and collaboration in our communities, and will also explore how we might collectively use new storytelling forms in the arenas of peace and community development to help establish a conflict-free world.

Stories are often formulaic:
Heroic individual
World-changing invention
Race against time

Cue Yourself
Seek out and create stories

Seek out and create stories that make you feel that the universe is friendly. #quotesSeek out and create stories that make you feel that the universe is friendly. #quotes

In this age of information overload, real storytelling still captures people's hearts and minds @SkyeGrove
Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories - Laurie Anderson
Danger of the Single Story
The danger of the single story

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.we are powerful beyond measure (2011)
Nuestro miedo más profundo no es el de ser inadecuados. Nuestro miedo más profundo es el de ser poderosos más allá de toda medida. Es nuestra luz, no nuestra oscuridad, lo que nos asusta. Nos preguntamos: ¿Quién soy yo para ser brillante, hermoso, talentoso, extraordinario? Más bien, la pregunta a formular es: ¿Quién eres tú para no serlo? Eres un hijo de Dios. Tu pequeñez no le sirve al mundo. No hay nada iluminado en disminuirse para que otra gente no se sienta insegura a tu alrededor. Has nacido para manifestar la gloria divina que existe en nuestro interior. Esa gloria no está solamente en algunos de nosotros; está en cada uno. Y cuando permitimos que nuestra luz brille, subconsciente le damos permiso a otra gente para hacer lo mismo. Al ser liberados de nuestro miedo, nuestra presencia automáticamente libera a otros.Estamos poderosos más allá (2011)

arc – assemblebackstorycarrotmob – comedy – comments – confabulation – control – counternarrative – curatecringeworthy – danger – developing story – diversity – drama – false narrative – flickrfoamboardfuturegamificationgoogle earth – hangout – history – In medias res – joke – jump the shark – lo-fi – manipulation – mise en scenenaturenarrativeoutlier – ownership – performance – photo safari – plot – popup museumpostcardspov – re-enactments – reveal – reward for effort – route – social bridgingsoundwalk – spoiler – story – storyline – storysharing – storytelling – successwash – suspension of disbelieftraveltropeuniverse – video – videonightwalk – we story – wee stories – wi-fiyoutube

Robert McKee


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