Asheville Storyteller Connie Regan-Blake will share her ancient art form with new technology fans Wednesday at the New Directions 2004 conference at Blue Ridge Community College…

Sunday Business

Sunday, May 4, 2004

Storytelling goes high-tech

Connie Regan-Blake believes despite advances in technology the message is still the most important part of the business

By Dale Neal Staff Writer

Flat Rock – Storyteller Connie Regan-Blake expects a slightly different audience when she takes the stage Wednesday at Blue Ridge Community College for the New Directions 2004 conference.

Hearing an old fashioned tale just might be a new experience for the 400 entrepreneurs, educators and technology workers expected to attend.

“With each technological advance, we worry that stories are threatened,” the Asheville-based storyteller said. “Certainly that was the case with television. But storytelling is just so much a part of human beings. We just want to listen to stories.”

There also may be profit as well as pleasure as new technologies incorporate the ancient art of narrative.

“Many businesses deal with technology to tell a digital story, whether it’s an interactive Web site, or multimedia, or the narrative sense of a commercial or other advertising. The same principles apply,” explained David Hutto, dean for technology and development at Blue Ridge.

So Hutto recruited Regan-Blake as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual technology conference to be held form 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Flat Rock campus. After Regan-Blake’s performance, Emily Paulos, executive director of the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkley, Calif., will speak of the growing trend for teachers and students to use digital cameras and audio recorders to create and edit materials for Web sites.

“Digital storytelling is taking place in schools around the country and we want to recognize that for the conference,” Hutto said.

In addition to the storytelling, workshops will let the participants pick up the latest skills in digital media, Web and DVD development, or running such programs as Photoshop, PowerPoint, Word, Publisher, Excel and FrontPage. Other sessions will cover wireless computing, personal digital assistants or PDAs, digital photography, viruses, open source software, educational technology, small business computing, network management, security and identity theft.

Matthew Ledford, president of, the Yahoo storefront design firm based in Arden, will be attending the second New Directions conference to offer a workshop on building trust in a Web site for Internet marketing.

Amid the new technology, Ledford is eager to hear an old-fashioned story.

“Connie Regan-Blake is a great storyteller,” Ledford said. “I think sometimes we forget that the media can overwhelm the message. There a lot of different ways of telling a story.”

The growing popularity of the conference boosts the region’s reputation for creativity and technology, he said.

“With the workshops in digital video and the broad diversity of topics, someone can pick up some pretty good information in one day,” Ledford said.

Contact Neal at 232-5970 or

Who will be there?

The following exhibitors showcase products and services:

  • Apple computers/The Computer Tree
  • ClarkPowell and Associates/li>
  • DMA Video/Data Networks
  • Document Imaging Solutions Co.
  • Flying Bridge Technologies
  • Gateway
  • IKON
  • K Com Inc.
  • Performance Data Corp.
  • Technical Video Systems Inc.
  • TSAChoice Inc.

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