Love, Noticing and Awe
10 links from the team at Storythings
I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week.
We’re coming to the end of our Scroll Stoppers report over on, but we’ll continue to publish regular formats that deliver useful insight around audience attention. Subscribe if you really want to get your content the attention it deserves.
Speaking of formats. Last week I unpacked You Suck at Cooking for. Get in touch if you’d like Storythings to do a content audit or help you to develop new formats.
Finally, and I don’t often do this in the newsletter, but if you can help Nori, please do.
Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.
The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere (17 min watch)
Walk Around. Pay Attention. Take Pictures (5 min read)
"Just call everyone ‘Love’” (1 min watch)
Scroll Stoppers Part 6: Swiss Army Apps (8 min read)
Which Marketing Channels Will Provide the Best ROI in a Recession? (6 min read)
A Huge Strategy Starter Pack (Resources)
He Was Tom Verlaine (3 min read)
Google Didn’t Break Your Brain: We’ve Always Been Distracted (15 min read)
The Bakerloo Line Train Will Not Stop at 1996 (5 min read)
How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Our Mental Health (7 min read)
How can we help you?
Storythings is a strategy and content company based in Brighton and London. We'd love to help you with some creative and bold ideas. Here's 3 reasons to get in touch.
1. You want to talk to us about content production: podcasts, videos, animations, illustrations, editorial.
2. You want to talk to us about content strategy or format development.
3. You want to create a brand or an identity that makes it easier to communicate your message.
We do other things too. We're very friendly and always enjoy meeting people, so get in touch.
The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere
If you are going to watch one thing this weekend, get yourself a cup of tea and settle down to watch this delightful short film about a racehorse that never won a single race. It’s a beautifully told story about perseverance and the power of story. I found this via Rob Alderson’s
(17 min watch)
Walk Around. Pay Attention. Take Pictures
Austin Kleon on the importance of noticing for building your creative muscles. Developing a habit for noticing is something Russell Davies talks about a lot. Here, Austin looks at how Bill Keaggy’s noticing of abandoned chairs allows him to build wonderful narratives using simple annotations.
(5 min read)
"Just call everyone ‘Love’”
Sir Ian McKellen shares the simple way to bring random people closer. As a Mancunian this really brings it home. (via Russell Davies)
(1 min watch)
Scroll Stoppers Part 6: Swiss Army Apps
In the sixth part of our report on how hybrid working is changing our attention, we look at how the lines between the tools we use for work and the tools we use for leisure have blurred. Next week we’ll be taking a closer look at how the attention of Gen Z changed. Subscribe to to get next week's direct to your inbox.
(8 min read)
Which Marketing Channels Will Provide the Best ROI in a Recession?
The answer is staring you in the face.
(6 min read)
A Huge Strategy Starter Pack
This is one hell of a resource for anyone starting out in strategy. Actually, this is a wonderful resource for anyone working in strategy. It’s so thorough that even people like me who have been hanging around for decades will find great value. It contains links to guides, books, podcasts, newsletters, people to follow, communities, tools, reports and courses. If you are too senior for this, share this with some of the junior members of your team. Thanks to Jenny Chang for making it and to Alex Morris for sharing it.
Google Didn’t Break Your Brain: We’ve Always Been Distracted
Fears about attention spans and focus are as old as writing itself. I’ll definitely retell this story about when indexes began appearing in books: “Erasmus, that intellectual giant of the Renaissance, was another critic of the misuse of the index, yet he was less concerned about lazy, index-first readers than the writers who exploited this tendency. Since so many people ‘read only titles and indexes’, writers began to put their most controversial (even salacious) material there in search of a wider audience and better sales. The index, in other words, had become the perfect place for early modern clickbait. It was up to the good reader to ‘click through’ – to read the whole book and not just the punchy index entries – before rushing to judgment.”
(15 min read)
He Was Tom Verlaine
Patti Smith remembers her friend, frontman of Television, Tom Verlaine. So beautiful: “In his final hours, watching him sleep, I travelled backward in time. We were in the apartment, and he cut my hair, and some pieces stuck out this way and that, so he called me Winghead. In the years to follow, simply Wing. Even when we got older, always Wing. And he, the boy who never grew up, aloft the Omega, a golden filament in the vibrant violet light.”
(3 min read)
The Bakerloo Line Train Will Not Stop at 1996
A lovely homage from to Geoff Ryman's award winning 'hypertext novel' 253. It started a website in 1996 with individual passengers connected by hyperlinks and was later published as a book. It tells the story of a London Underground train travelling between Embankment station and Elephant & Castle on January 11, 1995: “While I enjoyed the story telling of 253, it was the html-facilitated sense of connection and kinship that I fell in love with. This early example of a well-executed piece of ‘networked art’ not only made my new home city feel less intimidating and labyrinthine, it also seemed to point towards all the ways that the native language of the Web could be used to bring people together in new, exciting ways…”
How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Our Mental Health
Experts say wonder is an essential human emotion — and a salve for a turbulent mind: “But new research shows that awe 'is its own thing,’ he said. Our bodies respond differently when we are experiencing awe than when we are feeling joy, contentment or fear. We make a different sound, show a different facial expression. Dr. Keltner found that awe activates the vagal nerves, clusters of neurons in the spinal cord that regulate various bodily functions, and slows our heart rate, relieves digestion and deepens breathing. It also has psychological benefits. Many of us have a critical voice in our head, telling us we’re not smart, beautiful or rich enough. Awe seems to quiet this negative self-talk, Dr. Keltner said, by deactivating the default mode network, the part of the cortex involved in how we perceive ourselves.”
(7 min read)
We hope you've enjoyed this week's newsletter. I'm sure some of your friends would love to read it. Sharing it would be really appreciated. If you've received this from a friend you can subscribe below and get it direct to your inbox every Friday.
Thanks for reading. We’ll see you all next week.
Hugh, Matt, Anjali and the whole team at Storythings.
Absolutely love the story of Haru Urara. What a gorgeous short film.
Thank you for sharing, “Just Call Everyone Love.” All the way in Accra, Ghana, your work hit a nerve 🤌🏿