What the heck is Digital Storytelling?

At first I used to associate “storytelling” with just cracking open Little Red Riding Hood and reading it to a group of people. But now, after completing my Writing Through Media and Electronic Literature courses during my time at UMW, I can see that the term storytelling can mean much more than that. I believe storytelling is defined as any method used to convey a message to an audience. This is not solely limited to linear content such as a hardcover book that reads from left to right, but it can also include pictures, music, or even verbal discourse.

Now that we know that storytelling is not just about reading miles of sentences on a page, what could Digital Storytelling mean? I myself wouldn’t consider reading an ebook on a tablet digital storytelling, despite the fact that it’s stationed on a digital medium. Instead, I believe it is combining images, text, and other non-linear elements to narrate a story. Digital stories can include interactive content as well as visual effects to liven the presentation. Using this method, each person’s story becomes more personalized. Digital stories could also be conveyed through artgames, which use video game controls to keep the reader (player) engaged. This works well with those that are visual/kinesthetic learners (such as myself) who would rather play the story than read it. A good example of this sort of game is called One Chance where you literally have one chance to set things right.

Storytelling isn’t the same as it was 100 years ago. We now have computers, video cameras, and digital tools to help make our stories more than just words on a page. Every person is different, so wouldn’t it make sense to tell our own stories in a way that is unique?