My youngest daughter asks the family if we know how ancient people passed the time long ago. “What did they do when they were bored? Can you guess? Instead of toys and entertainment, guess what they did?”
She tells us that they told stories.
We learn that from the beginning, storytelling was both entertainment and a way to pass on vital information to the next generation. Stories captured the values of the ancient cultures. I discover that part of ancient storytelling involved the speaker presenting his story and the audience responding in approval or disapproval, comments or silence. Great stories would be shared with others.
I laughed out loud as I pictured Facebook likes, twitter retweets, comments, and shares.
We haven’t changed much.
The urge to post the stories of our days, right down to the minutiae of cats, recipes, and lattes isn’t novel or strange. It’s exactly what we should be doing. Instead of sitting around a campfire, nodding our heads in approval or whispering a repeat of the tale to our spouses and children, we like and share, retweet and repost.
And the best stories? Those go viral like the main tale told ’round the fire.
As I think about my posts and comments as part of storytelling, I wonder, then, what vital information I’m passing on–what wisdom, skill, or relief I provide–to aid the next generation.
If someone observed my trail of stories, would they all be cats and lattes? I’m thinking differently about the uses and abuses of social media, and I’m inspired to keep my voice raised as one telling her story around a fire.