As a storyteller, who began as a blogger, the infinite possibilities that the digital medium bring to the creative process of storytelling fascinate me. The linear, printed story is almost a relic of an age that is soon to be put behind us, and newer, more interactive mediums, that encompass the visual and the aural are upon us. The thing to be asked first though is, do we have a story to tell, before we begin to tell it.
Because that is where it all begins, as it should. With a story to tell. A story that is true and real and honest, and that wants to reach out and make its way across the minefield of the world wide web.
As humans, we began as storytellers around the fire, where myths were told and retold, tales of valour and love and heroism were recited. We passed the stories on, first orally, through the retelling, then when the language was written and scripts evolved, through stories written on stone, clay and paper, stories moved to the stage, the proscenium, the radio, to cinema, to the small screen. Folk stories, epics, love stories, soap operas, plays, comedies, tragedies, crime thrillers, block busters. There was a story for the audience who needed them. Stories went where people went. Because they needed to be told, and people needed to hear them. We weave our personal narratives into the stories we consume, overlapping their edges, experiencing through them the emotions of joy, sorrow, fear, anger, hatred and more, until we reach the final destination that all good storytelling must provide, that of catharsis.
Why are stories important? Stories are the heartbeat of a culture. Stories have been used as parables, as rousers for a nation, as manifestos, as policy, as coming of age passages. An audience being transfixed by a storyteller, whether the reading of a book or the clicking of a YouTube channel link, is the human consciousness trying to make sense of the who we are and where do we come from, and what’s for lunch.
And now, with the digital age, the medium of storytelling and receiving stories is changing too. So is the democratisation of storytelling. Now everyone can tell their story. And if they are compelling enough, they will be heard. Blogs. Wattpad. E-readers. Kindle. Readers are reaching out to instant access, interactive stories, instant downloads and convenience, web-based stories, hypertexts, and narrative computer games, apps, multiformatted mediums of story telling, vlogging, microblogging sites like twitter, visual blogging sites, instagram, pinterest, vine, etc and so much more are emerging as new ways for anyone with access to content creators and a story to tell. The availability of new accessible media production techniques, software and hardware, digital recorders, camcorders and now even the simple handheld phone with wonderful downloadable apps, can now make everyone a digital storyteller.
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