On the Internet, you will find no lack of efforts to collect and share stories, either on an ad hoc basis, or as a site’s raison d’etre. Following are a few that have caught my eye recently. I have also attempted to categorize the purpose for each collection/collection point:
Stories to illustrate a point: As part of the Washington Post’s StoryLab Project, Brigid Schulte has collected stories from working-mother readers share stories of opting in and out of the workforce. I found this collection especially interesting, having just read When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins, which noted that, as much as women’s place in society is different from what it was 50 years ago, women still face great difficulty in integrating work and motherhood. Similarly, Schulte’s conclusion from the stories she collected: “It ain’t working now, and something’s gotta give.”
Stories to inspire: In Learn From Student Stories of Scholarship Success, Scholarship America shared five stories of students, who without scholarship assistance, would either graduate with thousands of dollars in debt, or not attend college at all.
Stories for sharing experiences. DRINKING DIARIES is a forum for women to share, vent, express, and discuss their drinking stories without judgment. “Whether you drink or not,” the blog states, “are the child of an alcoholic or the mother of a future drinker, sip wine on occasion or binge drink for sport — we want to hear your story.” Regular readers will understand my special interest in this collection. I’m fascinated that Drinking Diaries is equally about drinking and sobriety.
Similarly for sharing experiences, ExchangeStudentStories appears to collect cautionary tales for exchange students in hopes of including them in a book. (It’s not clear because the site has no “About” page.
Stories for “the memory economy” and fundraising. I’ve mentioned the TOTeM Project before (TOTeM = Tales of Things and Electronic Memory). I have a hard time grasping this project, but here’s a description of an aspect of it about a “memory booth” at an event:
… We spent 4 days gathering visitors’ stories … We had a selection of blank objects, painted white and unbranded to create a generic signifier for the object itself. This meant that people were free to add any stories they liked to the objects, putting the emphasis on the memories rather than the objects themselves. At the end of the 4 days we gathered a lot of great stories from memories of traveling, looking cool in that first pair of jeans through to the trouble of kissing with sunglasses on! Once these stories were attached to a QR tag people could visit the Oxfam Originals store to pick up a memory. Every time someone bought a pair of jeans for example they would be given a QR tag loaded with other people’s memories.
Ultimately, people could (and presumably still can) “buy into the memory economy and help raise money for Oxfam.” You can see the collected stories here.
Stories for promotion via social responsibility: Purina’s Rally to Rescue program, which “recognizes the importance of the work pet rescuers do to help protect homeless pets,” is holding a contest via Facebook in which visitors can vote (through Oct. 3) on their favorite of 10 stories of rescued dogs and cats. The winning Rally to Rescue® group wins coupons good for up to $5,000 in pet food.