I speak from a lot of experience: it is terrifically hard to find your voice online. When I was executive director for Wide Angle Youth Media, I spoke about my own experience as little as possible, and did my best to tell the stories of our young people, or just share their stories, in their own words. Online, I was a cheerleader and advocate.
Now, I am self-employed, and struggle at times to share my stories. What do I share? What do you want to know? Spindle & Widget was conceived by my husband, David Pepper, and I as a place to do projects that matter to us deeply. It has become my sole work, while David works on projects now and then. So should I say “we” or “I?” What makes the most sense? What is the most professional?
Aah, there it is: professional. A word that once defined my identity goal has become a thorn in my side. Being professional once meant doing good work, and doing it well. But in modern communication it means something else: a distancing from our human selves. Online, it can be considered artificial and disingenuous, or maybe even worse, boring.
I’m re-making my own online image slowly but surely, taking tips from my storytelling pals like Susanne Schmidt and Deena Frankel, as well as borrowing brilliance from digital gurus such as Andrea Sher and Jen Lee. And I’m creating some e-courses and lessons to share what I’ve learned — not only about finding my voice again, but about using the latest technology to do it.
This fall I’m teaching Big Picture Storyteling, a hybrid live and online course for Vermont Afterschool Inc. I’m so excited to be working with afterschool organizations again — after all, I taught youth media for 15+ years. I love the creativity and flexibility of out-of- school learning, and how well these programs can support the needs of their community. In this course, I’ll be helping some great organizations tell their stories more creatively with current technology, and connect more deeply with their communities.
And in January I’ll launch my first fully online training, Fireworks Storytelling (working title), with registration starting in November. SIGN UP now to get updates and early bird offers.
Huge thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out my survey (you still can HERE), your feedback is informing the curriculum!
Stay tuned, I’ll be telling you all the news here, first.