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.