"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Sunday, June 01, 2008

NationalStorytelling.Net vs. Professional Storyteller

With development of both NationalStorytelling.Net and the Professional Storyteller social networking site, some people are confused as to the purposes of each site. Others mistake that one site cancels out the other site.

Though some features overlap, the goals are different and can be embraced by all storytellers and story appreciators. Then compare to what you want to accomplish.

The following seem to be the main aims--

1. Encourage suggestions to the National Storytelling Network (NSN) Board as well as open communication of Board proceedings
2. Integrate websites and projects for NSN Special Interest Groups (in process)
3. Share documents through Internet--rather than files only--to boost efficiency for any NSN committees, especially when leadership rotates
4. Brainstorm and experiment project ideas that could further storytelling, whether on stage or in applied settings, before pursuing in the real world

Professional Storyteller:
1. Network with storytellers and story appreciators from around the world
2. Develop relationships that could lead to gigs or inspiration of specific story programs
3. Promote events, projects, and individuals
4. Exchange opinions/experiences that range from the basics of being a professional storyteller to trends in the performing arts

For more details--


Encourage suggestions
Though certain information could always be requested by the general public about financials and governance of NSN, there has not been as easy a way as presented through the website. Posting updates and information beyond the legal statutes allows people to peruse at their own pleasure without hoarding time from the limited NSN staff.

Integrate websites
All of the NSN Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have separate websites to promote their goals. These groups are the following: Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance; Healing Story Alliance; Storytelling in Organizations; Storytelling in Higher Education; and Producers and Organizers.

While having these individual sites, it is possible for boards, committees, and membership to view documents and minutes that are not available to the general public. If a group so chose, there could be one to dozens of privacy levels.

Depending on the website features desired, the domain names could link with the NationalStorytelling.Net site so to avoid web hosting fees. Since editing information would be possible through a word processing format, knowing html code would not be a requirement. More people may be more willing to volunteer for webmaster positions as most people are comfortable with word processing systems.

Share Documents
If you lose a flashdrive or file with your information, then you have a small chance to retrieve it. Yet, there is a way to save documents online to avoid the file attachments sent by email, especially as email boxes receive several message in one day. By remembering one website address, you can fend off headaches.

Beyond organizational reasons, having files online provides a backup plan if anything were to happen to a member of the committee. Whether through elections, accidents, illnesses, or even death, the group could still move forward with projects. Nothing would have to be retyped or reinvented.

Brainstorm and Experiment
Ideas float inside us and sometimes we share them with others. NationalStorytelling.Net provides another way to receive feedback. I posted a couple of what I call "Random Rachel" ideas to check how far-off the ideas may seem to my colleagues such as for NSN to develop an international storytelling library/museum.

Most of these brainstorm activities happen within the forum section. Whether or not someone is a NSN member, all are welcome to take part in this feature. Follow the instructions to join found at http://forum.nationalstorytelling.net. When a profile is created, then a picture and links could also be posted.

Professional Storyteller:
Before the Internet, it may have been days before a storyteller was in contact with another storyteller. Some storytelling guilds include huge regions so that even meeting on a monthly basis can be difficult. With Professional Storyteller, people can celebrate with fellow artists globally every day if desired.

Develop Relationships
The best way to build relationships is in-person, though making them online works, too. When a profile is created, you are encouraged to have a photo id so that this image shows anytime you leave a comment on Professional Storyteller. If someone attends a major event such as the National Storytelling Conference or the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, perhaps this makes it possible to recognize others and strengthen friendships.

In time, the relationships could lead to the sharing of contacts or story program ideas. Invitations to performing at events is always easier when you are more of an acquaintance or friend versus being a stranger.

The profile page itself has many ways to spread the word through uploading pictures, audio, video and blogs. Beyond this area, the main page has a tab to submit events. The founder of Professional Storyteller, Dianne de Las Casas, has encouraged to post events "that other storytellers would be interested in attending (no personal gigs or tours) such as festivals, conferences, and professional development workshops".

Exchange opinions/experiences
From ideal situations to mistakes and blunders, letting our fellow storytellers know about these things can lead to more progress and respectability for the art.

Some people enjoy specific areas of storytelling and have created groups within Professional Storyteller to reflect these interests. Some of these groups represent a NSN Special Interest Group like the "Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance" or other groups focus on basic business and marketing practices such as "Story Biz" or "College Big Cats: Tracking and Capturing Gigs".

Upon reviewing the groups, you could always create one of your own. Twenty-two groups and growing exist for the 370+ members on Professional Storyteller.

More possibilities are still to be discovered for NationalStorytelling.Net and for Professional Storyteller.

Thanks to M.L. Barron, one of the NSN Board Members, here are links to understand set-up of the NationalStorytelling.Net through Google Applications--
1. "Welcome to Google Apps" page gives an overview of the different services within Google Apps and links to training videos, etc:

2. "Google Apps Help Center" page gives links to different FAQ's about using Google Apps, here: http://google.com/support/a/users/?hl=en

3. "Google Apps Case Studies" page gives short videos and links to specific Google Apps users, sorted by type (small business, education, organization,family, affinity). Here you can see how dozens of different organizations have used Google Apps to create their online, organizational infrastructure: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/customers.html

4. "Overview video" page explains what Google Apps is and how organizations can use it: https://services.google.com/apps/site/overview/index.html

For understanding set-up of Professional Storyteller through Ning, here are two helpful links--
1. "Ning Create Your Personal Social Network (NewTech Meetup)"

2. "Ning Network Creators" page allows you to ask questions on what is possible: http://networkcreators.ning.com/

Enjoy NationalStorytelling.Net and Professional Storyteller. There is plenty to do regardless of your personal goals.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance
(801) 870-5799

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