Saturday, December 29, 2012

Article on storytelling for entrepreneurs and [possibly] for libraries

I came across another good read on storytelling for companies and those who want to tell non-fiction stories.
Storytelling: Why Stories Attract More Customers by Social Media Examiner writer, Michael Stelzner. Hence, in keeping with my interest in library and information science considering storytelling as a method of conveying information, I review some of the points made by Stelzner and make a wider commentary on its application. In addition to my interest in storytelling for library and information science, I also have an interest in entrepreneur storytelling, especially as a librarian interested in entrepreneur/small business library services. As such, in this article, my comments and review will raise points relevant to both intersecting areas of interest.

In the article, Stelzner interviews Dave Kerpen, author of  Likeable Social Media and also the co-founder of Likeable, an INC 500 social media marketing firm. Kerpen is also the author of a new book entitled Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver. Kerpen therefore becomes the major source of the information in Stelzner's article, sharing his experience and practical advice on storytelling.

In the article it is stated that 'people love going to the movies and reading books...because we love to be engaged by stories.' In specifically talking about entrepreneur storytelling, the article states that 'everyone in business has a story to tell about how they started.' 'Wherever a company is started, no matter how big it is, it has a humble start'  and telling the story about how a company started can aid in making the company more 'likable'.

Stelzner's article also discusses how storytelling can be used convey non-fiction information. According to Kerpen, ones 'ability to take a piece of history and turn it into a story has to do with applying...traditional elements of storytelling with what really happens. Kerpen in Stelzner admonishes us to 'be truthful, but...embellish a little bit'. This I assume would be in conflict with my librarian's ethics of objectivity and telling the truth and nothing but the truth. Nevertheless, I also feel that librarians have a responsibility to convey people's ideas whether they be truthful, fictional or a blend of myth, legend and folklore.

Kerpen also advises that for our storytelling we must 'Make the characters come alive...set the stage and build a story that resonates with people.' He also advocates that with today's technology, storytelling is easier, cheaper and less risky, and that if it doesn't resonate with people, we can make changes and keep practicing and experimenting with storytelling until we get it right.

Kerpen also in final aspects of the article shares how social media has 'changed the barrier to entry to tell stories at scale.'
"It used to be that if you wanted to tell your story at scale, you had to buy your way in through media; for example, television or radio. You used to have to spend a significant amount of money on storytelling."
Today, this is no problem with the use of social media.

The article is useful to me both as an example of how business is using storytelling to convey information and continues to buttress my theories that libraries in order to keep up, will also need to explore this method in conveying information as well as in our offering of new and old services, especially via the Web. Currently, customers respond to stories, and libraries need to tell good stories in order to engage their customers. At the same time, as information providers and professionals responsible for information dissemination, we need to also consider whether or not using storytelling principles may be relevant for us to adopt in conveying non-fiction information. Can our profession begin a conversation on whether or not it is ethical for information professionals to use myths, folklore and even embellishments of the truth to convey important non-fiction information? Can our profession also ethically use storytelling which engages and takes advantage of people's emotions to lead them to truth?


Stelzner, M. (2012, December 28). Storytelling: Why stories attract more customers. Social Media Examiner Retrieved from:

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