I attended an interview with Iowa Public Radio’s Charity Nebbe and author Heather Gudenkauf, and while Heather said many interesting things about her latest novel, one comment by Charity stuck with me.

Charity was speaking about the depth of Heather’s characters and remarked about how important developed stories are in today’s society. “YouTube is story-less,” she said. “The videos have no arc or narrative.”

I had not thought about YouTube in this way, but her comment is true for much of what is on social media. Instead of watching the whole movie and enjoying the richness of plot and character development, many people consume their “art” through an equivalent of the trailer or bite-size portion of the whole. We see the surface without the depth.

While this may make for light fun and entertainment, there is something to be said for the robust full-version of a movie, play or book. I don’t think characters like Scarlett O’Hara, Moby Dick, the Little Women or Romeo and Juliet would have become legends for decades if they only were on YouTube!

As your organization undoubtedly spends substantial time cultivating your social media strategy, don’t forget to allocate some resources to tell your full story. Your history, legacy, mission and vision weave together to create an arc and narrative beyond 140 characters or a two-minute video. Plot out your plot as part of your complete messaging story.

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