Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Giv­ing a voice to ev­ery­day sto­ries.

SO­CIAL me­dia can be so im­per­sonal some­times, which makes it all the more in­spir­ing when peo­ple con­nect in the real world through online con­tact.

On Face­book, your friend feed may be filled with party pho­tos, ar­ti­cle rec­om­men­da­tions, com­ments and likes, but how of­ten do you catch up in per­son with your 700- odd friends?

On Twit­ter, do you con­nect with peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity as well as de­velop vir­tual friend­ships with peo­ple around the world?

On Youtube, have you ever searched for Ho­bart videos? Do you watch films your friends make?

We are more than ‘‘ users’’ and our so­cial me­dia con­tacts are more than just ‘‘ con­tacts’’. They are peo­ple with their own com­plex and sur­pris­ing sto­ries.

Twit­ter Sto­ries is an outreach ef­fort con­nect­ing users by com­pil­ing anec­dotes be­hind the site’s avatars.

Cur­rent fea­tured high­lights in­clude a story about a man who found a kid­ney donor af­ter tweet­ing that he needed one; an­other about a dog whose life was saved by be­ing adopted; and one about the so­cial- me­dia en­abled busi­ness boom for Ja­panese fish­er­men who sell their catch via Twit­ter be­fore their boats dock.

So­cial me­dia can give a voice to peo­ple who have been si­lenced.

Af­ter los­ing his abil­ity to speak, film critic Roger Ebert gained a new way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with his friends and fans via the site. ‘‘ Each story re­minds us of the hu­man­ity be­hind tweets that make the world smaller,’’ the Twit­ter blog ex­plains.

Users can sub­mit sto­ries, videos and pho­tos by tweet­ing a re­ply to @ Twit­ter­sto­ries, or by in­clud­ing the hash­tag # Twit­ter­sto­ries in their up­dates.

Face­book Sto­ries has launched too, pay­ing homage to all the in­di­vid­ual tales be­hind the site’s user ac­counts.

‘‘ Face­book is all about the in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ences of you and your friends,’’ the site gushes.

‘‘ It’s filled with hundreds of mil­lions of sto­ries.’’

That’s true, but there are still a lot of peo­ple hes­i­tant to lis­ten to them. Af­ter the ini­tial crit­i­cisms of so­cial me­dia for be­ing mun­dane, flip­pant and self- in­dul­gent, users may be dis­cour­aged from mak­ing overly per­sonal up­dates.

It’s a ‘‘ broad­cast ser­vice’’ for ‘‘ mi­cro- pub­lish­ing’’ and you have to watch your ‘‘ sig­nal/ noise ra­tio’’.

That means fewer up­dates like ‘‘ slept late’’ and ‘‘ on bus’’, and more ‘‘ con­tent pro­duc­tion’’, links, pho­tos and videos.

It’s all very in­hu­man. We are cre­at­ing less noise, more sub­stance but we are still sleep­ing late and catch­ing the bus.

These story ser­vices bring the per­sonal story to the fore again.

One user made a sin­gle Tweet that helped save a book­store from go­ing out of busi­ness; an­other took a hun­dred of his fol­low­ers out to din­ner.

Sto­ries re­mind us of the hu­man­ity be­hind the net­work.

Even with just 140 char­ac­ters, you can still have a global im­pact.

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