Among primates, the need for connection is as powerful as the need for food, research shows. Connection is communicated physically – through handshakes and hugs and such. It’s also communicated through storytelling. And it makes sense from a biological perspective: The role of a parent is certainly to provide food to keep the children alive through childhood, but it’s also (and perhaps even more importantly) to impart the lessons that will allow the children to thrive in adulthood as well.
Humans have been telling stories since before we were technically humans. Even the oldest cave paintings, thought to belong to Neanderthal tribes, are stories – about trials and tribulations and triumphs, and explorations of the natural world. Sometimes stories are designed to entertain. Sometimes, teach a lesson – “Liars end up eaten by the wolf.” Other times, stories are simply designed to impart practical information – “Here’s how to make a spear that can kill a bison.”
We see that deep-seated need to tell stories in the modern age as well. Technology complicates storytelling, by making it easy for storytellers to blur lines between fact and fiction and fable. And because technology mimics – but doesn’t replicate – the connection we get when we sit round the campfire with our fellow humans, it has the dangerous potential to edge out the human connection that is so vital. But technology also enables us to share our stories with a much wider audience – and to hear the stories of people with very different experiences, in very different circumstance than our own.
So storytelling in the modern age is a work in progress. This week came a new attempt to facilitate storytelling on mobile devices. Google’s AMP stories are “full-screen visual storytelling experiences that convey information with images, videos, graphics, audio, and more.” AMP stories look a lot like the stories you’ll find on Instagram or Facebook. But here’s the significant difference: AMP stories are designed for, as Google puts it, the “open web” – meaning they’re designed to run on all sites and apps, not just the one. And it’s hard to imagine that Google doesn’t have plans to feature AMP stories heavily in search results.
At Castelazo Content, we are storytellers. Yes, the stories we tell are about data centers and product engineering and software-as-a-service. But they’re stories. Designed to do exactly what stories do: Facilitate connection. So naturally, we were thrilled to take AMP stories for a spin. Pull out your mobile device and visit http://peoplelikestories.com/storytelling.html to check out what we did. (While AMP stories look just dandy on a desktop, they’re mobile first, so a mobile device is the best way to experience them.)