The number of free social networking sites can be overwhelming, though there are three that support storytellers the best:
Professional Storyteller through Ning
This site was created on January 24, 2008 and already displays much potential in its activity and membership. Dianne de Las Casas, known as a marketing guru in the storytelling world, said that this network “is for professional storytellers, people who make their living in the field of professional storytelling—performance storytellers, workshop leaders, teaching artists, recording artists, and authors.” Of course, if your goal is to become one of these kinds of people, then your participation is welcome.
Once you sign up and create a password, you have a page for your profile. You can give a link to your website as well as write some paragraphs about your background much like online directories found through some storytelling guilds or art councils. Your picture can be uploaded so viewers can put a face to a name.
Under the forum option, you are able to get an almost “Dear Abby” advice column feel from fellow storytellers. If you want to find stories for a certain holiday and are unsure where to look, you can post your request on the forum. If you want to share marketing ideas that work for performing artists, then you can ask for guidance. Anything you want to ask relating to the art, you are invited to share.
Other benefits include downloading video or audio samples of your stories, sharing pictures in a slideshow format for your colleagues and potential sponsors to see, and keeping in touch with tellers around the world.
Beyond connecting with professional storytellers, this site allows you to reach 150 plus industries, as it promotes “your professional relationships are key to your professional success”.
This is a chance for you to “be found” by potential sponsors. Over 17 million professionals already use this site so can you imagine how many would love to meet a professional storyteller?
If you are a storyteller who wants to build your connections in the education field, then you could meet principals, teachers, professors and more through LinkedIn. Performing for company celebrations could be a more common venue for you.
When signing up, you will be encouraged to invite others to join the site as your “connections”. These should be people you know well and could recommend to others if asked about them. Being part of LinkedIn already has the impression that you will open your network to others so that others could help you.
Part of your profile page on LinkedIn includes a recommendation section in which you could praise peers or peers could compliment you for all Internet surfers to see. Testimonials sometimes are easier to ask from others when part of a social network.
As your connections/friends invite others to LinkedIn, then you are able to view whoever your friends know. If you would like to be introduced to someone your friend knows, then you can send an email request. Suddenly a stranger can become an acquaintance and, eventually, could transform into a friend. The likelihood of a storyteller being hired by an acquaintance or a friend is much higher than being hired by a stranger.
You will find more success with this social networking tool if you are willing to share your contacts before you ask to be introduced to others.
Started up by college students in a dorm room, this social network has rocketed in popularity to over 20 million people. Many schools and colleges use it as a way to have an online yearbook since pictures and videos could be posted. As a storyteller, you could use these same features to promote your art. As in the other networking sites of Professional Storyteller and LinkedIn, you invite others to be your friends.
I enjoy the “Events” part of Facebook where I can announce my storytelling concerts and workshops. I can send specific online invitations to these events to my friends on Facebook (with request of RSVPs) or even to the whole Facebook network.
Wherever you live, you can choose a network so that people nearby could see your storytelling events whether a “friend” or not. For example, I am part of the Ogden, Utah network. Any other person who chose the Ogden, Utah network could click on “Events” and see my listings.
If you ever wanted a type of fan club for your storytelling, this is the perfect venue to build one. After a performance for an 18-30-year-old group, you can announce that you have a Facebook account and that you would like to keep in touch if they sign up on your email list.
Several applications are available to download to make your Facebook page a fun place to visit from virtual aquariums to digital growing plants to activities that promote storytelling. My Facebook page has the application “StoryLine”, which allows me to write a couple sentences to kick off a story while another person continues the same story with a few more sentences. This group storytelling experience could go on forever. Meanwhile, you may develop some great story material for performances.
Finally, you can join other groups that spark your interest. I have chosen to join groups connected to storytelling like the following:
So whether you join one or more social networking sites, the advancement of your art is inevitable. By connecting to one person you connect to the world.
Until we tell again,