After two months, 41 sharing stories, 1,158 votes, an intense round of judging, and over 10,000 views on our contest pages, the results of our Share or Die Storytelling Contest are in.
And like most contests, the winners represent only a fraction of the pageant’s richness. We fielded stories from sunny Hawaii to the snowy Sierras, from Manhattan’s gritty Lower East Side to rural Georgia, as well as from Vietnam, Uganda, Belize, Latvia, Cameroon, Kenya, and Russia. Our storytellers shared pomelos, work, theatrical props, rides, an avalanche, streets, jam jars, houses, wine, art, and more. They traveled the world, got married, started social enterprises, found meaningful work, and transformed their lives and communities through sharing. And for one wise storyteller, sharing is the uncelebrated way everyday life works. These stories are a compelling testament to the ubiquity and importance of sharing to the human experience.
Adam Werbach, noted environmentalist and contest judge, said of the entries, “The stories are awesome.” Judge Annie Leonard of Story of Stuff said, “OMG, all those stories were so good. This is hard! I loved the line, ‘The pie grows the more we share.’ Great, great stories!”
We at Shareable were blown away too. As passionate sharing storytellers, we know a good story when we see one. About a dozen are pure Shareable gold. We marveled at these gems as they appeared sometimes at a loss for words to express our wonder. And so we vehemently share Annie’s sentiment -- judging was hard.
The voting and judging process helped us find winners among many winning stories. Based on a combination of votes and judging (50/50 weighting), here are The Share or Die Storytelling Contest winners:
Top Prize, Video:
Shira Golding Evergreen for, “For Barter or Worse: Adventures in Sharing,” the story of two pioneering women who make a new life together in Ithaca, New York by starting a vibrant barter community called Share Tompkins, which has hosted 25 local sharing events in the last three years.
Note that while we had other video entries, unfortunately only Shira’s met the contest guidelines. That doesn’t diminish Shira’s win. Her video is truly awesome.
Top Prize, Writing:
Annie Koh for, “Live Aloha in Your Neighborhood (or Making Friends with Mangoes),” about a social media adept who broke the isolation in her high-rise apartment complex by sharing fruit not tweets.
Second Prize, Writing:
Jen Abrams for, “sharing and Sharing,” about her life changing moment with a theater community which came through for her when she needed them the most -- forever putting a capital “S” in sharing.
Third Prize, Writing:
Heather Box for, “Sharing ‘I Love You’s’ in the Streets of Vietnam,” about getting comfortable with hearing and saying, “I love you.”
The writing category had many impressive entries. The below were so good they deserve recognition alongside official winners. Our honorable mentions are the top stories according to the judges without considering readers' votes:
Ry Soutar’s, “Every Little Bit Helps,” poignantly explains how she makes everyday life as a single mother work. In her words, “The life I lead and am able to provide for my daughter would not exist without sharing.”
Gabriel Stempinski’s, “Building a Shareable Life Together.” Gabriel is a road warrior. Not only did Couchsurfing change his travels, but it introduced him to the love of his life.
While we honor the above stories with prizes and recognition, it’s the entire collection that’s important to Shareable. We thought of the contest as a way to gather as many stories as possible and raise awareness about our new book, Share or Die. We hoped that the stories would be useful to the sharing movement as a whole. We’ve learned that stories are essential for journalists, policy makers, community leaders, and entrepreneurs to communicate effectively about sharing. We’ll be publishing the best stories on Shareable over the next couple months. And all the stories will be made available under a Creative Commons license so that anyone can use them. In this way, everyone is a winner.
To close, I want to thank all our storytellers and readers, our diligent judges, our generous sponsor TrustCloud who helped fund the prize pool, our in-kind sponsor The Public Society who designed our contest pages, and our many partners including Creative Commons, Rebuild the Dream, The Story of Stuff, Free Range, Twitter, Ashoka Changemakers, Center for a New American Dream, Triple Pundit, Service Space, The Mesh, all the sharing economy companies, and many more who helped us reach over 2 million people. While billed a contest, collaboration was the heart of the effort.