Storytelling has been around for tens of thousands of years, but it’s currently in danger. There are story predators lurking around every corner taking some of the power away from this ancient form or communication and art.
We have the ability to consume stories from around the world in an instant, but due to new habits and technology, we gloss over true storytelling and have grown numb to stories in general. We’re so plugged into our own world that storytelling has gone off of the deep end in an attempt to buy our attention with flashy explosions, misleading article titles, and by showing us risque images to entice us to spend just a couple of seconds with them.
I don’t think stories are going anywhere, but I feel personally responsible for pointing out storytelling murderers and to bring them to justice!
#1. The News
News channels stopped caring about telling quality stories a long time ago. They now use syndicated spots during broadcasts and highlight the gritty crime and weather forecasts instead of staying true to their journalism roots. A lot of this comes from the demand of viewers, but where have good news stories gone?
#2. Social Media
Everybody has a voice on social media, and many of those voices are helping to destroy stories. From people posting spoilers of television shows and movies we are planning to watch to forcing us to compress what we have to say in 140 characters, social media is condensing what we have to say while taking away in-depth stories that can’t be told in a couple of sentences.
#3. Lazy or Repetitive Story lines
Spoiler alert: The good guy wins. There are some amazingly creative storytellers out there, but the majority of us are not evolutionary in the way we think. With millions of active bloggers able to publish in a moments notice, the same stories are regurgitated time and time again.
Not all of this is the fault of the writer, but a symptom of access. For example, I published an article two days ago about creating a list about things you suck at. Just eight hours later, one of my writing heroes, James Altucher, wrote a very similar piece. He never in a million years would copy me, but even when coming up with unique ideas, it’s impossible to avoid others having the exact same thoughts and similar content.
#4. Unprepared Storytellers
We stay away from bad experiences, and all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. Public speakers, actors, musicians, artists, and anyone else who tells a story in some way, shape or form can impact others in their field. If I bomb at speaking gig, not only do I look bad, but the organizers and attendees may be less likely to listen to someone else who’s in a similar field or shares similar traits.
Just look at Hollywood. Do we really need another Iron Man movie? Of course, the answer is no, but they are far too profitable to stop making any time soon.
#6. Short Attention Spans
If you’re still reading this article, give yourself a high five. We have an attention span that’s less than that of a goldfish. There’s a reason that content is shifting to video and audio form; we have short attention spans and no longer want to read ten-minute articles or watch three-hour movies.
What do you think is the biggest threat to storytelling, or is it healthier than ever?