|A Twist on Storytelling: Theories of Digital Storytelling|
A lot of people when they think of the word storytelling have memories of a princess saved by a prince then everyone lives happily ever after. These stories were often told out loud out of a huge story book and without missing a beat you would know the ending was coming soon once the prince had saved the day. Over the years storytelling has changed, now we have princesses that do not need saving a great example is the movie Brave. The story goes that a young girl named Merida, who is an impulsive young lady, is determined to find her own path in life and faces a couple of bumps along the way. Notice how I said it was a movie not a book, but it is still considered a story. The way stories are told has changed from story books to movies on the big screen. This way of telling stories has slowly crept up on the public and has become predominant. Everyone has a story to tell and it does not always have to appear on the big screen like Brave, but that does not mean it can not be told. Many times just looking through websites a person can find multiple stories about people’s lives and experiences. These kinds of stories are called digital stories and have taken hold of the public’s interest.
Digital storytelling is technically defined as a mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips, and/or music usually ranging from two to ten minutes, but it is so much more than that. Digital storytelling has become a new mix of traditional methods combined with the technology and mentality of people in the 21st century. Traditional methods still exist, because “In western academic culture, linguistic sign systems, writing, and the essay are still the coin of the realm as opposed to photographs, images and sound” (Hull and Katz, 2006, p.46). The format of times new roman, 12 point font and double spaced pages is still predominantly used in classes everywhere. It is hard to let go of tradition and move on to photographs and sound filled work. This generation is helping make the change, but despite efforts by many to strive away society is still slowly incorporating medias into work. Digital storytelling has taken off since its beginnings in the Center for Digital Storytelling and has since been seen all over Youtube and social media sites. Everyone has a story and I believe they should be able to tell it to whoever wants to listen. What better way to spread something than through the internet.
So many people have begun using digital technology to tell a story because it makes the story more entertaining. Do you remember back as a child when you were told stories out of a book and were ready to fall asleep? That was because it was a boring and dry activity, which explains why so many parents read their children stories before bedtimes; kids were basically bored to sleep. With digital stories, it is a completely different experience. In digital stories, you have songs in the background that often times can make you want to hum along or even dance. The constant flashing of images makes sure that you stay focused on what you are listening, this also explains why most people prefer picture books to just books with pages on top of pages of writing. Finally, any added on things to the digital storytelling are there to capture your attention and keep it. It becomes incredibly hard to fall asleep while watching a digital story because your brain constantly has stimuli.
This constant process that the author of a digital story uses to capture their audience is a rhetorical process. They constantly have to think of the different things that would capture an audience because if they do not capture them right off the bat then the person could very well move on to the next video. They have to think of different elements such as what makes them a reliable source of information, and the reason people should even be listening to what he has to say. Many of these digital stories have a moral or a message that is being said through them. The use of images, videos, and writing are all around us play an important role when it comes to convincing people to do or think something. As Hull and Katz would say “multiple media and modes, in combination with supportive social relationships and opportunities for participation, can provide a powerful means and motivation for forming and representing an agentive self” (p.48). When these methods of persuasion are used online they are a lot more powerful because they can be shared and spread out throughout the entire world in a matter of hours. It is the combination of all these elements that makes a story unique and constructs an identity.
Hull, G. and Katz, M. (2006). "Crafting an agentive self: Case studies of
digital storytelling." Research in the Teaching of English, 41, 43-81.