Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Best Online Resource for Storytellers: Storytell

When you ask around the U.S. storytelling community about the best online resources, the answer you get most often is Storytell (Although Jackie Baldwin's SOS "Save Our Stories" quickly gaining in reputation).

The surprising thing is that is you were to Google "storytelling" or "storytelling resources" or "storytelling community" you won't find it in the first five pages. I suppose that's because it is usually linked to under it's own name, "Storytell" with the description "a forum for discussion about storytelling."

If you Google "Storytell," of course, its home page comes up first... but how many new storytelling fans are going to Google that word if they've never heard of it?

One reason Google overlooks it: it's not a Web page. Storytell is an email list, started in 1995, and hosted by Texas Women's University.

All persons interested in storytelling are invited to participate: professional storytellers, amateur storytellers, people concerned with the rich history of storytelling, people who enjoy listening to stories, and those who speculate about the place of storytelling in the 21st century. The list reflects viewpoints from around the world of issues and topics concerning the storytelling community. STORYTELL serves as a source of information on conferences, workshops and events as well as a place to ask (and answer) questions about the origins and variations of stories, the business of storytelling, or organization of storytelling events.

With more than 500 members on the list, it's a great way to get advice from storytellers, producers, and listeners in the field.

My advice: if you sign on to the list, choose digest format for a while. That will limit your emails to one a day. The list can generate two or three or four dozen postings a day.

It has an an archive, which, sadly, is not accessible via the Web. You have to use the list's majordomo commands, which means the primary means of searching is by date... not by keyword or author.

Still, if you have a storytelling question, there are usually lots of people who will respond and point you to web resources, books, or even local and regional contacts.

And, let's see if a link here will help boost its Google rank:

Learn about storytelling: Storytell.

Storytell, the best online resource about storytelling