Because it's all about the story! The Social Media Brandsphere infographic by @briansolis

"Each channel offers a unique formula for engagement where brands become stories and people become storytellers. Using a transmedia approach, the brand story can connect with customers differently across each medium, creating a deeper, more enriching experience. Transmedia storytelling doesn’t follow the traditional rules of publishing; it caters to customers where they connect and folds them into the narrative."

I have an obvious bias toward this because not only is my official work title Storyteller—we're also spearheading corporate social media at work. So I can say with complete conviction that stories are at the center of good social media (and most good marketing, writing, and reporting, I believe).

On wine living.

I went to Napa last weekend and told one of the wine experts that I didn't know very much about wine. He said, "I used to be 'snobby' about my wine. I looked for things that were wrong with all types of wine. I only liked certain labels. But I got to a point where I realized there is always at least one thing thing good about every wine."

Seeing something good in everything. That, I think, is part of good living.

Bill Cosby on Good Storytelling.

Because I want this to be a catchall for all my storytelling learnings, I indulge in doubleposting from my other blog:

Presentation Zen has a very good post on storytelling lessons from Bill Cosby, leveraging Cosby’s Carnegie Mellon commencement speech in 2007. The blogger extracts two significant key points:

“Don’t talk yourself into not being you.”
Cosby’s main story began about five minutes in and is one anyone can relate to. All of us have talked ourselves into thinking we don’t belong or battle with self-confidence, etc. His point—which his true story brought out—is that we must not talk ourselves out of being who we really are. Cosby touched on the idea that being nervous (“but I was nervous”) or other such excuses that we often use get in the way of us bringing our true self to the job (or school, etc.). People do not care about your excuses, they care only about seeing your authentic self. As Cosby said “people came to see you” not some version of what you think they want or need. “I don’t care what you do,” said Cosby, “when you are good, then you bring you out.” “It’s not for you to stand around and measure yourself according to diplomas and degrees. You are you—and you are not to put yourself beneath anybody!”

Tell stories from your own life
People crave authenticity just about more than anything else, and one way to be your authentic self and connect with an audience is by using examples and stories from your own life that illuminate your message in an engaging, memorable way. Below are three more examples of Bill Cosby telling stories during stand-up or while being interviewed. Watch and learn (and try not to laugh…if you can).

I love these lessons because I think they’re so true. Personal stories are so powerful, and their effectiveness is grounded in the person you are. Stand up, and tell your stories! Because they matter.

You can watch Bill Cosby’s full speech here (does anyone else feel compelled to always say his first and last name?):

And be sure to check out Presentation Zen’s full post for more great insights and some sample stories from Bill Cosby, the master of charm himself.

On premature Chinese mothering.

Me: I found myself becoming a Chinese mother. I said to Josh, "What about law school? Wouldn't you like that? You could learn all about reasoning. Have a good job."

Sonja: You totally became a Chinese mother.

Me: But I'm too young for it.

Sonja: But it happened. It happened.

On greener grass.

I live in one of those tall apartment buildings in SOMA. I think it's technically called "affordable luxury" because it has a pretty good view and a guard who sits at the front, but it doesn't have its own private park or olympic-sized pool or Korean sauna or heated roof cabanas or fancy gyms that require your fingerprint for entry. Personally, I like to think about it as "makeshift luxury," partially because the concept of "making do" has always appealed to me (thank you, Hatchet!). But the other thing is that I can look out my window and look into the windows of hundreds of other brand-name apartments and fancy hotels. 

Truth be told, I'm crazy thankful for an apartment like ours. But it was the exercise of constant looking that bothered me. Living in SOMA is a seemingly continuous meditation in what you have and what you don't. It's partially what happens when folks of such extreme economic diversity live in such close quarters. You can find some of the fanciest hotels in the city. And you can find homeless people sleeping on their sparkly sidewalks. 

That's I started to think about that the Biblical concept of not coveting.

I will analyze anything. And when I notice someone I admire or like, that's what I do. What exactly do they do? How did they get there? What is the difference between them and me? How can I do what they do? 

But now that I think about it, it doesn't seem particularly healthy. You can still be good at your job without constantly comparing. You can still reach your goals. You might even execute more confidently. And you might be a better, more generous person. 

My proposal to myself is, for one week, not to wish I had anything anyone else does. Friends getting engaged? Nicer apartments? Cushy jobs? I will make a mental note and not waste time on it. 

The clincher to everything is that there is so much to be thankful for. An amazing city. A job that I love. A fantastic boss who, until now, I didn't believe existed outside the annals of HBR. Very kind friends. And a very caring best friend.

Note: I already know that I will be editing this more tomorrow. But so it goes. I think Anne Lamott calls these "shitty drafts." Also known as my blogposts. :-)

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

On Knowing Stuff.

I was 16 when I worked in my first newsroom. And about that time I learned about two different interview styles. 

The first was to research the subject or subject matter thoroughly before the interview, so that when you arrived to meet the person or place, you could get all cable network on the subject, asking "hardball" questions that cut right to the heart of the matter. 

The second interview style I learned about espoused the opposite: Don't learn much about the subject beforehand and come to the interview with fresh eyes, so that you would not ask leading questions and you would experience the person or event totally objectively and avoid presumption. 

I found my place somewhere in between the two. 

I glorified long, breathy features articles that ambled along their subject's side. But I also felt too nervous, too green, and too unconfident to go without any research. So I'd exhaust the Google pages learning about people and their subject matters. But when it came to the interview, I'd react as if I were hearing something for the first time. This was because I believed 1) This appoach better removed myself from the piece and allowed the subject to express themselves instead of react to me (this made the piece more accurate); 2) I could capture quotes that better summarized the subject's opinions, especially for those people who were not naturally talkative.

Over time, I realized that people really liked to know stuff and educate people. If you bust into a bar and talk to the bartender like you know more about her drinks than she does, they won't like you much. But if you come with an open mind, she will more often show you how she likes to mix. In general, I decided, it was better to let people talk about what they knew, even if I already knew it. Nobody liked a Know It All.

Today, however, I started thinking about a simple notion: It's OK to know stuff, and it's OK to express it. 

In general, I believe that listening can change the world. Nearly every conflict I encountered as an RA started with either a misunderstanding or a lack of empathy. Companies do well when they listen to their customers. And writers can succeed when they think about their audience.

But now as an adult—especially as a woman in a large, global company—I'm realizing that sometimes it's OK to admit, "Yes, I knew that, and here's more."

On Shower Pens.

Someone should invent a shower pen — a water unsoluable marker that allows you to write on bathtub walls and shower glass without rinsing the ink away. When the shower is over, you can either take a picture of your thoughts with a camera, or lift the ink with a special type of paper. Ink washes off with shower spray that cleans your shower at the same time. Good ideas. Good hygiene. Clean showers.

Turning the lights on.

Oh, hi. Well, it seems you've found me. Starting a personal blog has been some time in the making. I've blogged from London, on Posterous, about drinks, for Guy, for Alltop, for Changemakers, for Mommy Movement, and for Razoo.  Heck, you could even count Newsweek blogs and VentureBeat. But until today, I haven't really blogged for myself. This is the place to find personal musings on social media, the digital experience, culture, and life as a 20-something who wants to make a contribution to the world. Consider this a soft launch. That was one thing I learned from my previous job at a startup, which was a content-based enterprise. Ship early, launch softly, and give yourself the forgiveness to ease into your project. Turn the lights on. See who shows up.