I met someone for the first time recently. They asked me “What do you do?”.
The story of what I “do” has changed over the years. I used to just say “I work for [insert company name here].” Then after a while, I started to identify more with the actual work I was doing. “I’m a TV producer.” “I’m a web designer.” “I’m a technical writer.” “I’m a professor.”
When we started the company, my description started to become more complex. “I’m a partner in a production company.” Which always prompted the response, “Oh? What kind of production?”, to which I’d have to go into a long-winded explanation that well, we do tv production, but also web video, corporate video, and oh – yah, we develop web sites too, and do marketing…..
The problem I was having is that I could no longer easily sum up what I actually “do”. I was “doing” too many different things. Then the other day, it hit me. What I do is irrelevant. It’s a task list. It’s what I am that matters.
So what AM I? Simple. I’m a storyteller.
All day, every day, I’m telling stories. I’m telling them here, on my blog. I’m telling them in 140 character increments, on Twitter. I’m telling them when I meet my friends for drinks or coffee or dinner. And I’m helping my clients figure out how to tell their stories too, whether it’s through a new web site, a video, a TV show, a marketing campaign, or all of the above.
It’s all storytelling.
So how does this tie in to the notion that it’s not about the tools? Well, the fact that it’s really all about storytelling rather proves it, I think.
If what we’re all doing out here is telling stories (our own, our clients’, others’ -it doesn’t matter), then really, the tools become irrelevant. Sure, it’s important to know how to use the right tools, and use them the right way to ensure the story is told well. But the tools themselves are secondary. It’s the story that really matters.
When all’s said and done, it’s the story that people will remember – not what you used to tell it. I’m wondering if it’s time to reconsider how much effort we are spending talking about the tools themselves, and if perhaps we should be spending more effort figuring out what our story is and how we’re going to tell it.