As we have read over the course of our lessons, storytelling is important to creating great digital content, because it is so intrinsically a part of human nature. For as long as people have gathered, they have been telling each other about their thoughts and experiences. And they have sought to do that in a way that will be influential and engaging, so that their stories will be shared and will last.
One of the keys to effectively telling a story is giving your listeners a sense that there is a real person telling it to them. As I noted in my last blog post, there is still a hesitation within government to use language like ordinary people on social media, and to humanize the public service. But that hesitation is slowly…slowly…giving way. It’s indicative of a culture change within government – a change that means understanding and embracing our human need to tell and be told stories that appeal to us emotionally and intellectually.
I think that the movement towards storytelling in government, and letting the people within government tell their own stories as part of that overarching narrative, will continue. I don’t think it will ever get to the point where the telling of those stories aren’t centrally controlled; where, for example, multiple individuals are allowed to issue their own posts on government social media accounts under their own names (and certainly not individuals who aren’t at the most senior levels of the department). However, even with this centralized structure, I think there is room for telling the kind of stories I would want to tell: clear, plain language stories about how government policies and programs work, and what people need to know to use and enjoy them. Stories of the people who actually have used these policies and program, and what they can tell others about it. Also, I want to push my clients and senior management to tell stories that thoughtfully and transparently acknowledge the mistakes that government has made, and help them fight their instinct to hide their flaws.
Keep it real!