What's the Story, Jerry?

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by: David Polinchock

Growing up on Long Island, there was a store that I think was called JGE’s. Long before Costco, it was warehouse shopping if you belonged to a union. The commercials starred a kinda’ big guy — Jerry — and it was a VO asking What’s the story, Jerry and he would say something like You come to JGE’s, so them your union card and get the best prices… or something like that. At the end,he’d raise his hands in the air (showing off a huge beer belly!) and say That’s the story!

What, you ask, would make me think of a commercial from Long Island some 35+ years ago while I’m walking around Warsaw at midnight? Well, I find myself looking at lots of cool things here, but constantly asking myself what’s the story.

In this digital age, when information is alway’s available online, while walking around places, I can never find the information about what I’m looking at. I’m not talking about directions, but the stories of the places I’m looking at. And not just the tourist story, I want to know more stories, the personal stories from peolple with experience. That’s why people like tour guides. Good ones can tell us the inside story and give us a peek behind the curtain.

But in our technology driven world, how can places make getting the story easier? Why aren’t more places using text messaging and other mobile technologies to share their stories? And what about using those same technologies to let people share their own stories with each other? Maybe I’d like to know that your parents married in this 400 year old church. Maybe I’d like to know more about why you put your beads on the painting of St. Jude. Maybe I’d just like to know more about what makes this physical building be more then just a building.

Once again, we’re asking questions about the socialization of place and what happens when the internet leaves the internet. As we’re finding online with blogs, twitter, youtube, etc., people like to share their stories. But those stories are tethered right now to their PC.

We’ve got the technology to bring those stories to life outside the PC, but someone going to need to start teaching places about what can be done. In many places, you can barely find written information, let alone start thinking about multimedia content.

But, some questions remain. Who owns and who is responsible for the information. Do bad memories of a place get erased? Does someone need to review what”s posted and make sure it’s all appropriate? Who owns those stories once their atached to a place?

Are other people as frustrated about the lack of placed based stories? Does anyone have any good examples of placed based stories to share? As I’m traveling, I’ll keep postings of cool experiences that I find out there.

Link: The Big Apple: “What’s the story, Jerry?” (JGE); “Forget about it!” (Tops Appliance City).

Original Post: http://blog.brandexperiencelab.org/experience_manifesto/2008/09/whats-the-story.html