Connected Pro-D

Web 2.0 – Story Telling By the Flickr of the Global Campfire

Posted in ECI 831 by tchcruiser on November 11, 2009
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The magic of beautiful Spanish lake in this British Columbia summer landscape Explore

Originally uploaded by Jacques Daigneault

I chose this picture to frame my entry about digital story telling as it symbolizes to me what story telling is about – sharing experiences with others in a safe environment, with others around you willing to take in your story, and in turn having that story re-told and added onto around other “camp fires” or dining room tables or today – computer screens, with others totally unkown to you.

Story telling is a giving over of your lived experience to others to learn from and find connection to and then to pass it on. It is the ultimate and perhaps the oldest of “green” acts that encourages and demands a recycling of common and familiar settings, plot lines, characters, endings and lessons learned.

The fact that we now do this with computers makes it no more less so than in times past when it was done entirely by word of mouth and memory. In fact, digital story telling has shifted back into a necessity to re-mash and re-mix and share it again with an audience to keep it relevant, personal and connected with the context of the community it is being shared with. This has always been done in story telling – characters name change, the age changes, the location changes, the action taken slightly different to account for regional quirks, but it is done in a way to make it recongnizable to those hearing the larger human story that is woven into the details.

I think what makes web 2.0 tools and story telling different is that it now relies primarily on a visual form of telling the story. In the past, sitting around this fire, you would only have needed to hear the story being told to you, or read the words of the story as you sat in your deck chair…. but now, we are sharing stories with predominantly pictures and video as the main form of “words” and the story comes from being able to read what the images are saying about these common human themes. Visual story telling does have some benefits, however, even though you may not be able to do it by the warmth of this fire!

Visual stories, I feel, allow you tell longer, complex stories in perhaps less amounts of time than it would take to tell the story in written or oral form. I also think that it allows for more layering – adding in oral, written text, music, movement, etc which makes the message more compelling. Digital 2.0 forms of storytelling also allow for many times to replay and take it in – and each time you take in the story, you may get different things from it.

I also think that the potential size of the audience you are sharing your story with in a digital world also impacts the story. When you are sitting around a campfire such as this, you are intimatley connected with your audience – you can see their facial expressions and sense their emotional connection with your story. You can see and hear clearly if they are connecting with you and you can adjust your story telling style instantly as you get this feedback. I wonder if this makes a difference in the kind of story you tell and how you tell it when you are so close to the audience and do not have to wait for feedback – if you get any feedback at all. Sometimes, although published to a world-wide audience, your story may not even be “heard” by anyone, or at least anyone who cares enough about you to listen.

I also think about how the “distance” from your audience that a digital story teller has may have some positive benefits in the sense that if you are not as personally connected to the audience, it might allow you to feel more free to take risks in your story telling. I am guessing this may be the case and is why we see so many publishing and sharing their stories with the world via the internet today.

I think that the availability and ease of web 2.0 story telling tools makes everyone capable of telling stories and it is no longer exclusively for those who have good memories, know many languages or can read and write – as it once was. Although we spend less time sharing stories around a campire such as this, we are still sharing and telling stories, only now we are doing this increasingly by the glow of our screens and the flickr of images on the internet, rather than the more intimate settings invoked by this image.