Once again, I find myself chatting with you about the buzzword of the decade.

It used to be “content,” but now it's “storytelling.”

Storytelling is all the rage right now, but hasn't it always been? I mean, it's like last century's news for writers, authors, journalists and people who produce "content," sometimes almost literally in their dreams.  Storytelling is old hat for storytellers ... like me, for instance.

Which brings me to websites.  Storytelling is like the gold rush for all of these retail sites that are pursuing "narratives" for the sake of selling some product. Fine.  When that rush has sunk into oblivion, the true content producers will still be writing and telling stories ... in their sleep.

Funny thing about storytelling.  It requires you to have a brain and actually use it.  Storytelling is what happens when an idea pops into your head and there you are ... actually writing and producing the vision.  The baby is born and the finished product is either great or it sucks.  But there it is ... ready to be consumed or deleted. 

Artists know all about storytelling. They create it with paint or clay or wood or digital this or that.  It's basically the same as writing, but the medium is different. The handmade, finished product is always there.

Many firms that talk about storytelling don't really know what they're talking about.  Do you know why?  Because they see narratives as means to an end. They don't write for the joy of it or paint because they cannot NOT paint.

For them, creating narratives is about selling something and making money. That's fine, but here's the difference ... For most writers, storytelling is about the art of writing and expression itself.  It's about the process and the finished product itself ... not what they'll bring. 

Artists say the same thing about their work.  I have yet to interview an artist who wants people to see their work the same way they see it.  The art is there for you to perceive and consume however you wish. 

A painting is a story.  A sculpture is a story.  This essay is a story.  What you perceive and take away from them is about you, not the authors. 

In short, there's more to storytelling than telling a story.

I love writing so much that I don't play around with it.  I don't dress it up with smoke and mirror photography and I don't make it difficult for people to access out of fear that it's not that good.  ArtBookGuy is all about the content.  So much so that I've designed the site so that you get to “the meat” or “the content” in just one click. 

You cannot fake content.  Content doesn't have to scream to be noticed. People know when content is masquerading as an ad for The Gap or Target. Don't fool yourself.  Real content is content and not a sales pitch.

You know full well when the content you're consuming is propaganda. Propaganda builds its case for a desired outcome.  You might call that marketing. However, with true content, you have no idea what “the outcome” will be, nor are you overly concerned about that.  You put it out there and people are free to think and do as they wish. 

Do you want to know how you're producing real and true content?  Upon releasing it, you'll notice that different people have different reactions to it. Some will love it, some will hate it and some will be indifferent.  And the people who love it will love you while the people who hate it will hate you. But here's the thing.  It's not about you, the creator.  It's about them - the consumers. 

When people criticize me about something I've written, they usually point their finger at me when they should be looking in the mirror. I'm simply writing what's true for me at the time. That's what contemporary art is all about.  

I don't know. I just got bored and suddenly inspired to write this.  Guess what I've just done?  I've created content and I'm giving it to you right now. Hmm, maybe I should've phrased that a different way.  No?

No matter. What I've just said isn't about me. It's about YOU and how you perceive it.

In short, there's more to storytelling than telling a story. 



Content Is Breathing