Has 2008 Been The Year of Personal Narratives?

Comments (1)

Gena Haskett, writing on blogher, thinks so:

From identity politics to Twitter tweets this has certainly been the year of the personal narrative. It is the search for your story told by another being that shares or reflects your thoughts, feelings and, at times, pain.
It is the need for connection. If we can’t find someone standing next to us then we search for them in magazines, books, music or online.

My opinion? It has been perhaps the year when personal narratives took off. The “Journaling and Personal Storytelling” category is one of the deepest on my sidebar. In 2008, I’ve blogged about and/or listed on the sidebar these personal storytelling sites, venues, and tools. Many pre-date 2008, but I only discovered them this year. Others emerged for the first time this year (I’m lazy and not including links, but you can find links to all these on my sidebar): Dandelife.com, The Circle Project, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, ThisDayInTheLife.com, This American Life, This I Believe, The Story, Your Unique Story, StoryCorps, Smith Magazine, British Library: National Life Stories, Life Story Telling, The Remembering Site, Memory Writers Network blog, Tera’s Wish, Fray, Story Circle Network, PNN (Personal News Network), About Personal Growth Stories Section, The Experience Project, Telling Our Stories, The Moth (not new in 2008, but started a highly successful podcast this year), The Monti, Story Salon, First Person Arts, Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), Boomer Cafe, Tintota, Association of Personal Historians, Storytlr, Great Life Stories, Tokoni, Always Stories, The Timeslips Project, We Are Storytellers, The Timeslips Project, The Legacy Project, Flokka: Share Your Stories.

Yikes! Just realized I don’t have Heekya on my sidebar, and I know that site was new in 2008.

This was also the year Sharon Lippincott and Jerry Waxler founded Lifewriters Forum, a Yahoo discussion group.

And then there is the massive, exploding realm of social media, which many would contend is all about personal narratives — Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, blogs, ad infinitum. And the narratives off the 2008 election. And the emerging world of digital storytelling, which often involves personal narratives. This is the world that Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine call “Storytelling 2.0.”

I contend this year has only scratched the surface. I predict that as more and tools and venues become available for telling and disseminating personal narratives, Storytelling 2.0 will continue to experience tremendous growth.

If you thought 2008 was the Year of Personal Narratives, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

By the way, Haskett has several nice examples of touching personal narratives in her post.

1 Comments

2008 was certainly a good start, but you’re right, 2009 is going to be even better! And social media are really helping bring personal narratives to a wider audience. We hope First Person Arts can keep pace with these exciting developments while, at the same time, dealing with the challenges to the credibility of personal narratives posed by a couple of high-profile missteps.

Thanks for including us in your writeup!

Andrew www.firstpersonarts.org

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