Pre-Google, Pre-internet, Pre-books even, we used to rely on stories to educate us. The spoken word was gospel. We would gather round camp-fires, and the story tellers of the day would impart their wisdom. What made these people stars was not just what they had to say, but how they said it. The delivery matters (It always does) The best of them would inform, frighten and inspire us all in one sitting.
The internet, with the onset of cheap or free access to broadband has brought the power of story telling back to the modern world. And it’s a phenomenon. Replace the camp-fire and put a laptop in its place and you have where man was a few million years ago.
The unknown boffins, scientist, environmentalists who can tell their stories amazingly well are spreading their ideas, their views, their insights more quickly and to more people than they could have dreamt of.
Yes, books can tell a story but the spoken word can bring it to life. You can hear the passion, the anger, you can see the honesty in the eyes of the speaker. You can even see their spit fly across the stage.
But in these broadband connected days, rather than just a few hundred people seeing a great talk, the whole world can access it whenever it likes.
So why are stories so important? Well, over time we have become comfortable with this way of getting information. We like the format. It works for us.
We know how to decipher them.
Indeed stories are how we used to learn but will also be very much how we learn in the future. In its simplest form they pass knowledge on. They explain things we don’t fully understand. They inspire us. With each great story comes life’s important lessons. About their determination, about what drove them, about trying to ﬁnd a better way of doing something, about the struggles they met along the way.
Stories are also important because they are about doing things. Stories need verbs. It’s the verb in the stories that gives it the action. The ‘Do’ bit.
And importantly, people don’t forget stories, especially when told brilliantly. But they often forget facts, even if told in unique way.
These stories in terms of learning are important; they show us the way. They demonstrate what is possible. They give us hope. They act as a guide just like cat’s eyes in the road.
A story well today, has never been easier to share, to more people, to create more change change happen than ever before on planet earth.
Thank you, Internet.