What does digital storytelling have to do with web 2.0? The curmudgeon in me thinks of that as an unholy confluence of buzzwords that ought not be mixed. For that matter, digital storytelling? Really? Charles Dickens and the rest of the brit lit crowd is real storytelling. It’s good enough for me; it ought to be good enough for anyone.
But let’s think this through. Dickens. He wasn’t exactly high literature in his day, was he? After all, he wrote serials for periodicals – not the noble medium of the bound book. Then what happened next? Radio. Cinema. Television. A series of new mediums, each becoming another place where stories are told. Accordingly, there’s no reason why the internet shouldn’t be explored as a new way to tell stories. It being new doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse than prior means, rather it’s merely different.
So yes: I do like to read books and watch movies. But I think there is room enough in my life to entertain the notion of another avenue, room enough to explore it. The idea of spreading a story across blogs, twitter, and flickr – or more generally, telling it through a web 2.0 paradigm – is a bit strange to me. It’s non-linear, possibly ephemeral, and different. It’s uncomfortable. But it’s simultaneously new territory, with possibility, with potential. It’s not just a chance to tell a story, but more importantly, a chance to tell it in ways that people haven’t experienced before. The medium is the message.1