Since 2006, Six-Word Memoirs (sixwordmemoirs.com), a project of SMITH Magazine, has helped people tell moving and insightful stories in just six words. In June 2015, Six-Word Memoirs launched Six in the City, a program that brings Six-Word Memoirs to cities across the country as a tool for civic engagement. Columbus, Ohio, is our launch city.
An important part of Six in the City will be the meetups found in communities, neighborhoods and cultural pockets in your area. That’s where you come in. We want those who live and breathe Columbus life to gather the people in their local scenes and cultivate conversations about what this city means to them, boiling it down to six words. This sample package for how a gathering at a food/drink scene could go (be it at a restaurant to your own home) is merely a jumping-off point. Think of the people you know and the places you go that would enable a creative, passionate and conversational meet-up. Use this guide to help create the Six in the City: Columbus event that’s ideal for you and your group.
Meetup Package/Timeframe: Food & Drink (as just one example)
What you will need:
- Group of engaged, creative and interactive people
- Setting suitable for your group (coffee shops, breweries, kitchens, etc.)
- Tables/chairs, paper, pens/markers
- Six-Word Memoir examples and prompts
- Optional: Food, drink, music, additional activities
Meetup Break Down (1 hour):
You know your locale and customers best, but we’ve found that providing a suggested timeline for a one-hour meetup is helpful. Meetup lengths can easily be condensed or expanded. Not sure? Get in touch, and we’ll help you figure out what will work best for you.
1-15 minutes: Let your group be a little late. Gather and schmooze. Set the tone for the meetup.
16-19 minutes: Welcome everyone and explain Six in the City: Columbus.
Provide a brief overview of the project and meetup (by either the meetup organizer or an SITC ambassador). Be sure to emphasize that this is a citywide project in which people share six-word stories about Columbus. Encourage people to share their sixes on social media during and after the event (for a list of handles and tags, see below).
20-29 minutes: First prompt! Pass out the paper and pens and walk them through the process.
What’s your Six-Word Memoir? Can you describe your life — one part or all of it — in six words? Look for examples to suit your group at www.sixwordmemoirs.com
30-39 minutes: Second prompt! Encourage your group to think of their backstories and how to bring them down to six words.
What’s Your Six-Word Columbus Story? Can you describe Columbus in six words? Your own passions and purpose here; your neighborhood; why you came and stayed; your hopes for what Columbus will be in the future?
40-49 minutes: Third prompt! Specific prompt based on your scene.
If your scene is about food or drink, sample prompts might be about Columbus’ taste profile, the best meal in Columbus, being a bartender in Columbus, or the like. (A faith-based meetup, classroom workshop or other scene would, of course, suggest very different prompts.)
50-60 minutes: Thank the participants and encourage hanging out and talking about their stories.
After: Share your Sixes
It’s easy to share your sixes on social media. Please encourage people to do so!
- Instagram: Snap a picture and post your #SixWordSelfie to Instagram and tag @sixwordselfie.
- Twitter: Use the tag #SixWordsCbus and include @SixWords
- Facebook: facebook.com/sixwordmemoirs
Why Hold a Six in the City Meetup?
- Customers/patrons who get to know one another have a closer connection to the business
- Business/customers become part of a larger citywide, community initiative
- Meetups will be included in the Six in the City: Columbus blog, social media and press materials
- Develop a deeper approach to capturing the stories of Columbus as a city and of its residents.
Contact: Larry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org