By now you would have heard that LinkedIn will be adding Stories to its functionality. For those uninitiated to the Stories feature which is ephemeral content that allows users to capture content through the day in a chronological way and share to their followers, you may be thinking, what’s the big deal?
Over the years, I’ve been building up a huge online CV of my work, projects and what I have been learning about in different ways such as this blog as well as video on YouTube through annual playlists.
However, it was the Stories feature of Snapchat when I started using it back in 2014 was when the penny dropped for me about the power, ease and accessibility of this visual format to be used for “working out loud” purposes. Since then, I have been writing about this platform but also the power of the stories function for work story telling purposes.
Here’s one example of one I created back in 2018 attending VidCon in Melbourne (there’s over 600 more of these where that came from)
By now, you would have heard all about my Snapchat dabblings and using its story feature to create a body of work over the years – like the one above – that I can now refer to and see the actual progress of my work and thinking.
I can PHYSICALLY see my improvement over time thanks to the story feature. Some stories I can also see the evolution of my thinking. For example, what started out as an awkward uncertain skill, over time, I see the improvement in that skill. In effect, I used the Stories feature to DOCUMENT AND EVIDENCE my work projects and what I was learning about in VISUAL FORMAT so I recreate the same emotional experience when I view it again in the future.
However, I’ve had somewhat of an uphill battle trying to show people the value of Stories – whether they use Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. In the past, I’ve had people put me down publicly that I was being naive and childish for using this platform. The worst of it was when I was invited to present at a conference about it, only 2 people attended my session while the other session was packed. (The organisers managed to get more people – up to 20 – to attend and when I spruiked that it “wasn’t going to be about the platform but how company’s can use the power of the Story features to showcase talent and expertise, more people attended but the lesson was learned….never mention Snapchat.
Don’t believe me? Well I used the Story feature to capture what happened at the event….
See what I mean? How powerful is THAT?
I have VISUAL EVIDENCE – CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE – of the ACTUAL DAY AND THE EMOTIONS of the day – REAL TIME, REAL PLACE, no editing, no time taken to change the message, make it pretty and formalise it. You’re LIVING THROUGH WHAT I’VE JUST TOLD YOU HERE.
People focus too much on the social network itself without taking into consideration that I’m actually talking about the ‘story feature’ and not the network. I’m talking about HOW they can use ephemeral content for purposes of work, community, communication and learning.
Over the years, I have written HEAPS on this blog about using Snapchat Stories but I thought I’d revisit a post and share WHAT I SAW IN THE STORIES FEATURE that helped me in my work.
Why I Started Using the Stories Feature
Over the last few years, I’ve been experimenting with video. I was seeing a strong and increasing trend of the use of video and in particularly, live streaming and thought that it was best for me to start getting the hang of this medium back in 2014. After all, as someone who is afraid of public speaking and with a preference for the written word, I thought that by jumping in feet first to experiment with video was the way I needed to overcome this fear.
However, creating vlogs like the ones on my YouTube channel were taking a long time to shoot and edit. For example, the videos I was creating that were approximately 6-8 minutes duration took me about three hours to edit in iMovie! This is an example of the types of videos I was creating….
There was pulling the footage into iMovie, choosing shots, finding music. (However the editing process was a joy for me because it was creative – you could create different short movies by choosing different angles, music and change the mood entirely).
Of course, I didn’t need to spend so much time on this. I could easily have shot video with me talking straight into the camera in true vlogging style however one thing was missing for me here – I wanted a STORY around what I was doing. I wanted the reader and the viewer to come along on a JOURNEY with me. I wanted people to see and experience it for themselves.
Unfortunately, I just didn’t have three hours to spare every day to create a short film. Nor did I want to make it ‘professional talking head’ type of video.
Also, there was the added fear that some random off the street run away with my iPhone, tripod and equipment. You had to be aware where your equipment was at every single moment and totally aware of your surroundings.
For example, when I was out and about filming with my iPhone, my thoughts was always about the shot, who’s in it, what’s in the background, where I’ll set it up, why that dodgy looking guy was looking at my bag that I set down. In a way, it was a bit exhausting for me to film alone and consider all factors around me just to get the perfect shot.
Enter the Stories feature.
Stories now gives me the freedom to snap audio, photo and videos to create that story and then put it into a chronological timeline. I could take a snap while I’m working, show a piece of my work, talk about it and then share it immediately.
This means that you take a ‘snapshot’ of your work and thoughts at any time of the day. You can then add any additional audio, video, filters or annotations to vary the tone or emotion of your snap and share it to your timeline. Every story is saved in a chronological order and by the end of the day, you have a visual record or diary of your whole day!
NO EDITING, NO ADDITIONAL VIDEO SKILLS TO LEARN, NO ADDITIONAL PLUGINS TO LEARN, NO FUSS.
And don’t even bother about asking, “yeah but it’s in Portrait”. Thing is, people watch videos in portrait on their phones. Get used to it. Stop asking that question. If it’s ephemeral short term content then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with portrait.
How Can You Use Stories in Business Contexts?
I’m anticipating this question when LinkedIn Stories comes out soon as people will start to lament that it’ll become the next Facebook, Instagram or whatever. I’m tired of those arguments – your social network is YOUR social network to be used in the way YOU want for YOUR OWN purposes.
Just because someone shares a selfie or shows their lunch does not mean that everyone else will be doing this. In fact, the onus is on YOU to search, find and connect with people who SHARE VALUE. They’ll be out there but you need to find them and look out for their stories especially if they are stories that you find valuable for work, they teach you something new, they connect you to someone in their work.
Here’s how I have used the Stories function for Business Context and look forward to using LinkedIn Stories:
- As a Visual Diary of Your Daily Work
- Capture a Story Live of an Event or Conference You’re Attending
- Create a Question and Answer Story where you answer questions from people who submit questions to you
- Share a behind the scenes tour of your workplace, laboratory, meeting spaces or factory floors
- As a company broadcast to get messages out to your network
- Practice your public speaking (I used it to practice my PowerPoint slides)
- Seek advice from your network (ask questions and engage people to share their stories with you)
- Create games such as what I did “Training Tip Tuesdays” or “Thankful Thursdays” where you share training tips or thank people publicly who have helped you
- Online Book Reviews (I’m still doing this – share a story on books you’re reading)
- SME LinkStorms – get a SME to share his/her knowledge in story format where they use it to teach others something
- Show Your Work – take photos or video of your work in progress
Don’t believe me?
So over to you? Will you be trying out the stories feature of LinkedIn when it comes out? I know I will be. In fact, I’ll instantly drop out of Instagram and head to LinkedIn to capture anything work related because it’s the right network for it. For me, live streaming didn’t meet my needs because my work and learning took a longer period of time – over days and months. I couldn’t live stream that because live stream lends itself more to synchronous and short and continuous broadcast.
Stories is both synchronous and asynschronous – in fact, I like to think that when I hold the button down to record, I’m actually RECORDING THAT BRIEF MOMENT OF TIME THERE AND THEN FOR POSTERITY and there’s something magical in that.