August 29, 2015

Bay Area Storytellers: How Do I Find Them All?

I live in the "Bay Area," a nine county region of 7 million people and several major cities, lots of universities, and major businesses, that ring the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays in Northern California. This area has plenty of storytelling talent, including lots of professional storytellers.

But, try and find a comprehensive listing, and you will be out of luck.

Search engines aren't much help, not because they are not smart, but because, by and large, the storytellers of the Bay Area (like storytellers anywhere else) who offer their services via online directories or their own websites don't use the "Bay Area" to distinguish their service area. They may list their city of residence, they may include a list of venues (which could be national or international in scope), or neglect to include any geographic information at all.

There is a regional storytelling association, the Storytelling Association of California which posts a list of storytellers, but having a listing there is a benefit of membership, and not everyone keeps their membership up, and there are no geographic limits on who gets assigned there.

So, to help with online visibility, I made a Pinterest board of Bay Area storytellers.

I like Pinterest as a visual scrapbook. I use it a lot to collect visual inspiration.

It's not a perfect tool for a Bay Area storyteller list. For example, not every storyteller has compelling visual imagery on their website, and everyone has different size photos. So the visual representation is not in any way fair.  And I can't organize the page, not alphabetically, or any other way. I'm also not sure that search engines crawl Pinterest (if you're not signed up for Pinterest, it's not easy to even see the page).

Still, I appreciate l that we have tools like Pinterest, so that if I complain that I can't find all of the Bay Area's professional storytellers in one place, I can do something about it.

Need to find a storyteller in the Bay Area? My Pinterest board may help.

(And if you have suggestions for making a Pinterest page more useful, let me know in the comments here)