The world isn’t quite as perfect as social media makes it seem. Most platforms teens use today depict picture-perfect lives, and while there is no doubt that technology serves as a powerful connector, it can also leave teens with a skewed vision of real life.
This week, Huzefa talks with Marcy Sinel, co-founder of Storybooth and the visionary who helped create a platform for teens that supports social-emotional growth through the age-old medium of storytelling.
With more than 25 years of experience in digital, Marcy recognized the need for a peer-to-peer social-emotional platform that allowed teens to share their voices anonymously. Traditionally, social-emotional programs have been led by adults, though teens are most influenced by their peers. Kids know when something is not authentic — it feels like a lecture — which is why peer-to-peer interaction is the key ingredient at Storybooth, and the reason more than 4.5 million listeners subscribe to the channel. The first-hand experience of a peer resonates much more with teens than the traditional adult down approach, she says.
At its core, Storybooth is about emotional connections, a safe place online where kids can come together and share true real-life stories about their mistakes, experiences, and the lesson they’ve learned. As Marcy points out, this generation is savvy and the kids are running the show on Storybooth, recording their experiences themselves with no adults involved in the audio. “We follow their lead. They are a really resilient, powerful generation with a lot of complex issues.”
Teens utilize the website or app to record their story as an audio file only. All stories are anonymous and animated, though students can opt to send in a photo in for animators to match the character’s features to the teens. Hundreds of thousands of submissions keep the team at Storybooth very busy, sorting through topics in order to select those that will resonate with and help the greatest number of listeners.
With no investment in marketing, the team at Storybooth relied on quality content and allowed the YouTube channel to grow (and grow and grow) organically. It’s no surprise that this success has led many schools and educators to request their own closed-system Storybooth platform, outside of YouTube, which Marcy and the team will turn their focus to in the near future.
Tune in now to listen to the full interview and learn about the many exciting things the Storybooth team has in store.
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