Snippet: Terribly Tiny Tales’ journey from a text-first flash fiction platform to social media storyteller

Terribly Tiny Tales

Terribly Tiny Tales’ (TTT) Anuj Gosalia traverses through the art of curating short stories on digital taking cues from Twitter and the dynamics of building a content business. 

As a writer, Anuj Gosalia, CEO, Terribly Tiny Tales, realized that the world needed a break from the internet filled with cat memes and GIFs and that there was no space for organic storytelling. Perturbed by the very thought that the netizens needed a dash of something more relatable in the form of better content-led Gosalia launch Terribly Tiny Tales popularly known as TTT in the digital domain in 2013.

In a quick chat with Social Samosa, Anuj Gosalia reveals the objective behind creating TTT, evolution from a text-based online micro-fiction platform to making a content business out of it and amassing millions of followers on social.

The Objective

“The vision at inception was to bring strong writers and tell meaningful, varied stories that were easy to consume, but hard to forget,” shares Anuj Gosalia. TTT was launched on Facebook first, later foraying on  Instagram, and eventually evolved to video with YouTube.

Over time – the vision has evolved to making TTT a tech-enabled platform for personal stories from across the world in a range of formats.

The Content Nama

With a social tribe of 1.7 million Instagram followers, 45k tweeples, 480k subscribers on YouTube, and more than a million Facebook followers, TTT enjoys quite a loyal fanbase across the digital arena. The fact that it has been consistent in depicting stories through varied forms with a distinct touch for each, has been one of the biggest growth drivers for the platform along with making money through content collaborations with brands and creators.

“The content strategy has always been to value stories that come from the gut, from strong-personal and lived-in experiences. What is personal, is often universal. We look for stories that are relatable and well-crafted. That’s been at the heart of our strategy since the beginning. Strong original voices has allowed us to become a beloved place for stories,” says Gosalia.

The theme of the Internet over the last 2-3 years, especially in India, has become video-first and so it’s not surprising that video is a big driver of growth at TTT, too. From being a text-first platform, TTT has evolved to introduce many video formats that the team is able to execute, remotely.

Gosalia further highlights that the formats that work for now are web shows, short films, video-call formats, animated shorts, and stories on popular culture. But this is ever-evolving so this may look different six months from now.

In October, TTT partnered with Tinder to launch a short film titled ‘Haba Goba’. Showcasing how the pandemic has accelerated virtual dating, with a surge in swipe volume and messages sent on Tinder, the partnership captured newer dating encounters and unpredictable plots via text-based, video, and visual content.

Aiming to be a frontrunner for original, intimate stories, the platform also weaved its first-ever web series ‘Butterflies’ in association with Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk. The objective was to associate the #HowFarWillYouGoForLove campaign with the age groups 15 to 25 making the brand a core part of the conversations and special moments of love shared by this younger TG.

Hosted on TTT’s YouTube channel, each episode captured a unique kind of love story across a specific age group. And showed one of the characters going that extra mile, with a ‘big-small’ gesture to make the other person feel special and tell them how they feel.

VYRL Originals partnered with Terribly Tiny Tales (TTT) to give an exclusive sneak preview of their next big release with Arjun Kanungo, Prakriti Kakar, M Ajay Vyas ft. Awez Darbar and Nagma Mirajkar. The song was featured in TTT’s short film, ‘Kaande Pohe’.

In 2015, the company in an attempt to incorporate micro-fiction in videos rolled out Terribly Tiny Talkies, where content is curated on the basis of quality and merits and the inhouse teams collaborate with the digital celebrities to produce various short films.

Also Read: How Kellogg’s Muesli leveraged TTT’s community for Father’s Day

Apart from leveraging its vast writers’ community to narrate tales under its #MidnightMusings, #Select, #ShowerThoughts content formats, the brand has shared the stage for voices on social issues like the LGBTQ rights  in partnership with brand slike United Colors of Benetton and also present short stories to reflect the core messaging for brand promotions.

Content Development in COVID-19

The TTT team heard a lot of briefs, especially in May-June, about a post-COVID world. Gosalia thinks that the idea that we’re going to resume life as we knew in February 2021 feels distant. Stories need to be rooted in this truth. While unlocks have helped resume things – we’re still cautious and slowly (very slowly) adapting to stepping out.

He adds, “Unless you’re building a storytelling universe, it’s hard to move out from our present-day reality. All of our most-engaging stories draw from our moments today – social distance, masks, and caution.”

Speaking about the content produced during the COVID-19 outbreak, he adds, “In a pandemic, the more personal, more intimate, and more honest the story is, the higher the probability of it resonating. People either look for comfort or escape in crisis and TTT’s responsibility is to be a storytelling platform that comforts by telling stories that are real, but laced with optimism and kindness.”

The Business of Content

If we look at content marketing globally, the rise of KOLs in China, and the Passion Economy, we’re in the early days of seeing it explode, feels Gosalia. His hypothesis is that everyone is a storyteller and all companies are storytelling companies. “Which means that if you can add value to the world, you should be adding that value to the world by creating content and telling stories that resonate with you,” he asserts.

While we have seen an upsurge in content marketing in the last decade, it’s nowhere close to what it can be once everyone starts creating. Since 2013, TTT has been a place to tell personal stories. It’s also where the internet is going.

Gosalia says, “We want to leverage our ability to build content and community and make TTT the global product it can be.”

Lastly, he shares the one tip he would like to share with like for budding content development platforms to grow-

“My first question is – Ask why you want to build it. Be honest about why. Followed by – Don’t question it for a very long time. Keep building.”