tips for mannheim students:
creating social media stories

Questions for Prof. Skidmore? skidmore@uwaterloo.ca


Key point

Regardless which medium you choose - Twitter thread, Instagram story, Snapchat story, Facebook story, an infographic, or something I’ve never even heard of - you want to be telling a story. The individual parts don’t have to be self-contained (i.e. they don’t have to be able to stand on their own, though it’s nice when some of them can do that); it’s more important to have a structure that keeps your reader/viewer engaged. You want your audience come away understanding the point you’re trying to make.


Visuals

  • Let the pictures tell the emotional or affective part of the story; let text provide the information, context, and interpretation.

  • If you have lots to say about one particular object/scene/memorial, use different pictures of the object etc to accompany the text.

  • The same point, though not exactly the same point: when taking pictures of the landmarks and memorials, vary the format (e.g. have some wide shots, but also some close-up shots that illustrate particular details).

  • Use photo effects available in the apps to give your photos greater impact. Use these wisely - the effects should serve a purpose and not just be employed because they’re “cool.”

  • And don’t forget: video can play a big role. Raw, amateur video may not be as polished as professional video, but it has an authentic quality that people like.


Other ideas and tips

  • Should you plan out your story/thread or create it as you go along? That’s up to you, but if you want to be spontaneous, remember that you’ll still want to have something connecting your posts, even if very slightly, so as to maintain your readers’ interest.

  • In a thread you can vary your posts. Go back and forth between specific (e.g. a particular monument) and the more generally thematic (e.g. some of the concepts of memory you’ve learnt in the course)

  • Think about your audience. Who (do you hope) will be reading your posts? Gear the posts towards them, but not to the extent that others won’t understand what you’re talking about.

  • Use hashtags currently in circulation or create your own? Using current hashtags will connect your stories to larger audiences, but creating your own might be appropriate because it indicates the originality of your story.

  • If you like graphic design, an infographic can be a quick yet powerful way to capture all of what you’re trying to say in one spot. It works really well when you’re trying to communicate information (e.g. how many graves in this cemetery; providing timelines; etc), but it can also be used to illustrate concepts and provide context.


An Example


Resources

How to create a thread on Twitter

How do I share a photo or video to my Instagram story?

20 creative ways to use social media for storytelling (older, so the tech parts may be out of date, but the general ideas are good, even if they have a marketing purpose in mind)