It All Boils Down to Storytelling
It's a craft that I've been focused on honing for thirty odd years — from the moment of discovery that thoughts, ideas, insights, questions, fantasies could travel from my brain, down my arm, into a pen, through it and onto a page to the revelation that sharing those stories formed a deep and (paradoxically) unspoken connection with others...and it didn't stop with writing or the spoken word. Photographs could tell tales and bond people — not only because of the aesthetic merits of the subject or how it was captured but because a picture is the crystallization of a moment both objective and subjective. At some point, I learned you could string enough of those photographs together to capture arcs of time and emotion...but, throughout this learning process, storytelling, no matter the form, was a means of reaching across time, space, and experience to create empathy and community.
In the 21st Century, websites have become a storytelling medium in and of themselves. They not only convey information like a fancier virtual brochure or serve as an electronic place of commercial exchange, but every website is a unique entity that tells the tale of someone's dreams, aspirations, the service offered up to the community, a way to affect and change the world.
This past weekend, I had a consult with a very special young woman who is using her story of battling a terrible illness to create a community through the internet for others to share their stories and form connections with each other. Despite her young age, she innately understood that if you tell your story sincerely and overcome your vulnerabilities to share your real feelings, that creates a protected space into which others can enter and share their experiences, fears, hopes and lend each other the kind of strength and support only someone who is going through an analogous struggle can.
Because familiarity has made it so that we often take for granted the connectivity of the internet, we can sometimes forget that technology is, by definition, a tool we use to improve the human condition. This young woman, who surprisingly doesn't have any social media accounts and doesn't wile her hours away on the internet, understands that it can serve a great purpose. It was such an honor to speak with her and connect via listening to her story!
So, next time you visit your favorite site, do stop to smell the proverbial roses. Notice the story you're taking part in and how it isn't just a tool but a way for you to connect and be a part of another person's vision to improve reality. By doing so, you may get some ideas for your own site or the site you want to build or you may just develop an appreciation for the choices that go into making websites like one does for a well made piece of furniture, car, or that special bowl you love to eat your favorite flavor of ice cream out of.