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Thoughts & Learnings from Digital Storytelling Unconference Vancouver 2013

8 Oct

I got the chance to attend the Digital Storytelling Unconference in Vancouver this past Saturday and it was quite an enlightening day.

Kai Chu led a discussion called “Slow Everything” centered around the concept of living life slow – as in Slow Food and Slow Parenting. Here are some of my favourite soundbites:

  • ‘Slow’ gives you a chance to get levels of achievement back so that you feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • To be ‘good’ a something, it still needs to happen the old-fashioned way, through learning and practice. Someone telling you something, say music, is good, doesn’t make it good to you. It’s just their opinion.
  • As accessibility (to whatever subject you’re focusing on) increases, skill level increases exponentially.
  • ‘Slow’ is deciphering what you’re doing from the everyday so as to have a greater appreciation for it.
  • ‘Slow’ is helping ourselves be more engaged and active in our own lives.
  • ‘Slow’ is giving your mind a chance to check out from the bigger questions you’re dealing with to help you come to more authentic resolutions.

Next, I attended at discussion led by my friend, Todd Smith (also one of the event’s organizers) where the group talked storytelling, presentations, and effective communication. Some key points I took out of this discussion were:

  • Telling a story sticks in an audiences’ collective mind much more than simply telling them facts. After all, spoken word storytelling is how our history has been passed from generation to generation for quite some time!
  • It takes a look inward, into yourself, before you can define the story to communicate to an audience.
  • Transparency = authenticity. The more you can connect with an audience as a person, the more personal the interaction can be.
  • Figure out what your own personal S.W.O.T.’s are. Use this to own your experience and expertise, unapologetically.
  • Setting goals for presentations act just like setting goals for your life or business – they become a marker for you to evaluate and improve upon after the presentation is said and done.
  • There’s something called the Plain Language Movement, which advocates for clear and concise communication. Thank goodness!
  • Cadence and use of jargon go a long way to attract or repel an audience. Be observant and willing to mix things up if you see what you’re delivering isn’t landing.

The last discussion I attended was a group session about words in the digital era led by Tera Kristen. This was an interesting look at how the use and presentation of words is changing as digital media changes. Here are some key questions Tera asked to get us thinking:

  • What happens when the words are removed (from a picture, video, article, etc)?
  • What is the impact of typing vs. speaking vs. handwriting words?
  • When are words used for meaning vs. entertainment? How do you balance these two ideas?

Some other key points that came out of the group discussion include:

  • When stylizing words, restraint is so crucial. Don’t do something just because you can – treat everything with purpose.
  • The pauses are just as important as the action.
  • Speaking on stylization of sorts – we have to work harder to understand what we’re reading when things are obscure or not all info is provided. It’s good for our brains!
  • In this day and age, when there are so many ways to publish words, craft is still required to put forth something engaging.
  • The digital age allows everyone to have a public persona as well as a private life – it’s not just celebrities anymore.

All in all it was a very informative day with discussions about how story relates to every day life, media, gaming, teaching, movies, you name it. Story is woven throughout the fabric of every form of communication and is something I now have a greater appreciation for and a newfound thirst to learn more about. Thanks, DSU Vancouver Team for putting on a fantastic “unconference”!

A little update!

4 May

I’ve taken a little hiatus it seems! April got a bit hectic with my daytime job, the wrap-up of Start From Scratch classes, the passing of my grandmother on April 10, 2012 and a spontaneous trip to Vancouver (first time I’ve ever been there!) where I met two longtime Twitter friends, Ethan Adeland and Melissa Hartfiel, in real life.

My grandma was 95.5 years old and was a constant part of my life. I remember so many things about my grandma, particularly cooking with her while she babysat me (she lived two blocks away for most of my life). I remember her friends coming over and all of us forming an assembly line for perogies (Russian-style they’re small, stuffed bread), cabbage rolls, homemade cottage cheese, borscht, and so many other things. She was of the ilk that if your plate was empty you needed more food (even if you were stuffed to the brim).

Over the next few weeks I’m going to post some of my favourite recipes from her. So stay tuned! I’m still here.:)

Making a comeback!

10 Apr

After a (very) long hiatus, I’m back. The website is up and revamped. Always a work in-progress.

I’ll start by posting four articles I’ve written for the newsletter over at the Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre here in Calgary, AB.

And then…who knows. I’ll keep the tips and tricks coming as they make themselves known in my everyday cooking!

Thanks for reading!



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