Social media: An opportunity to change your story and change your life

Your story, your identity, shapes how you live your life.  Change your story and you’ll change the way you live your life.  Social media presents an opportunity to do just that; a place where you can create a new story for yourself, and change your life.

Two weeks ago, I participated in an all-day workshop in Vancouver, with other British Columbia civil mediators. Sponsored by Mediate BC, the workshop was an opportunity to network and share ideas with colleagues.   I’m always amazed what new things come out of us coming together, and having conversations.   The connection between narrative mediation, social media and story is one such thing.

The power of story in conflict

During the workshop, mediator Gordon White led a session on narrative mediation.  Narrative mediation proposes that people live their lives according to stories. It gives more weight to stories, and the meanings within stories, over facts and causes.  A mediator would use a narrative (story) approach to help the conflicting parties understand how their stories have shaped their views about themselves and the other.  Narrative mediation focuses on the importance of building a (new) story; one built around the common elements of the relationship between the parties.

Stories connect. Stories help us connect the dots, the discrete events and experiences into some sort of whole.  Like in the graphic; how I connect them is my story (red).  How you connect them is yours (green).   Different stories, with some common touch points.

Scott McCloud in his book Understanding Comics talks about the “gutter” in a comic strip, the place between the panels, where you, the reader, are invited to participate, with your imagination. You combine the individual panels with your imagination to create a story.   In many ways, when we imagine something different; e.g., a positive versus negative image of our situation, our conflict, we are changing our story.

Creating story through social media

The social media landscape before us is another opportunity to craft/refine our identity.  After mediator Sharon Sutherland led a session on social media and marketing for mediators, it was a minor epiphany for me when fellow mediator, and one of my mentors, Patricia Huggins drew the connection between narrative mediation and social media, and which I captured on a break, in this all-too-short video clip… (can’t see it? click here)

When I think about each time I interact online, each post, tweet, update… its another opportunity to contribute to my own narrative/story of who I am. For those of us (self included) who haven’t all along been keeping a daily journal, social media gives us this amazing chance to incrementally add/connect together parts of ourselves, and deal with some of life’s paradoxes we all face.

In many ways this identity creation is an internal conversation.  “We are our first audience.” (Valeria Maltoni)

Your story?

What place or forum do you leverage to recalibrate your identity, your story?

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  1. You can change your story by just making up a new reality. I noticed one of my young FB friends has his birthday set as 3 years older than he is. Much cooler to be 18 than 13!

  2. Interesting Katy. When I wrote this post, I hadn’t really thought much about making up a new reality, one of pure fiction. Might work, if one was only interacting online. Although over time, I expect the truth would reveal itself, and who knows… maybe its even cooler! Its not easy living a lie.

  3. Interesting write up. I do think that people interact via social media because they want to contribute to the ongoing conversation. There is is desire for many to have their voices heard, and social media really makes that possible.

    I also think that it is really cool when you can track a breaking story by connecting a string of tweets. It is amazing how fast word spread with tools like twitter.

  4. Good points Beracha. As you say, it’s so true social media creates a place to have one’s voice heard. Your point about tracking a breaking story is an interesting one too – the Twitter scenario is also a way to discover a story (vs. telling a story) – building a story out of the conversations taking place – one can see the potential of this…

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