Telling the Story of the Sikh Massacre
Paul Singh

Last month, we announced the beta launch of Totella, a new type of open media platform that enables people to share the stories that make up our lives. We built Totella on the premise that the world around us is made up of stories about people, places, and events but we rarely get to see or hear all the voices of each story. We believe that each person has a piece of the story. Totella shows the whole story by providing a way to see all the pieces, through everyone’s pictures, videos, and perspectives, all in one place.Totella has been in development for more than six months and we were planning our soft launch when we saw the news about the August 5th Sikh massacre in Wisconsin by a white supremacist. When the shooting occurred at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin, killing six people of my faith, our team was compelled to tell the world the story of the tragedy that befell our country. Our entire team, which consists of three founders from the Sikh faith, worked day and night to launch our first storyboard, escalating the launch to Friday, August 10th.

Totella was founded to address a gap in storytelling. The many stories about people, places and events make up the world around us. Until now, however, the Internet has only let us see fragments of these stories in a variety of locations. We rarely get to see the whole story in one place. Totella changes that. The platform was developed To-tell-a…story, so that each smaller voice can be heard and sewn into one fabric to tell the whole story.

The story possibilities are endless with Totella. Storyboards can range from topics like the Syrian and Egyptian revolutions to more personal events like a wedding. People all over the country, and the world, can contribute their piece of that story in pictures or videos. Totella enables a collage of multimedia perspectives and the Totella community’s interactions on each topic ranging across the entire spectrum of the human experience.

Early support for Totella immediately came from the broader Sikh Community. The Sikh Coalition, America’s largest civil liberties and community organization, leveraged Totella to share stories from the massacre in Wisconsin. “Our team was immediately engaged in the crisis response to the tragedy in Oak Creek, WI on August 5th,” said Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. “As all Americans across the country lent support to and stood in solidarity with the Sikh community, Totella provided an effective story telling platform for people to stand together against hate.”

The response since the launch has been amazing. We have had thousands of people visit the Board and engage with each other by uploading their own stories. The most heartening thing for our team was the flood of requests to create new storyboards. We recently partnered with Appirio to rollout a storyboard for Dreamforce, the premier cloud conference taking place this week in San Francisco. Our team has been busy rolling out new functionality on a weekly basis and we look forward to opening up the platform in the near future so everyone can create their own storyboards.

Paul Singh is the founder and CEO of Totella. Paul has a keen interest in the evolving social media landscape and a passion for making the Internet a more open place. He has Bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Maryland and a MBA from Georgetown University.