Why Digital Storytelling Matters More Than Ever in 2014

/// Why Digital Storytelling Matters More Than Ever in 2014

April 7, 2014  |  Blog

Digital Storytelling

Derek Smith

by Derek Smith, Talk NYC Founder

Why Digital Storytelling Matters More Than Ever in 2014

If you were like me a decade ago, you might have been dreaming of videophones and battery-operated cars; virtual-reality video games might have easily been dancing in your head like sugarplums on Christmas morning while the very idea of the all-in-one smartphone reminded you of a new era beyond this dimension in which cable TV was replaced by the reality of online web camming magician trickery for entertainment.

Fast-forward ten years to 2014. If you’re a platform, brand or advertiser, content is still the name of the game. For better or worse, content continues to shape and define how we all experience digital media in today’s media landscape. Three years ago, I thought the rise of apps, connected devices, and social media platforms meant that new media experiences would be created, which would ultimately result in a more fragmented media environment. Three years later, what I’ve learned is that while there is segmentation of media preference and many more avenues for media to be distributed, no one cares about a platform in and of itself (this writer included) as much as the content and experience that said platform offers to the end user.

Today, Facebook is only as interesting as the people in your network and the targeted advertisements or content that shows up in your  news stream. Ditto for Twitter, Pinterest and any other platform that is network based. What really matters is the content and the experience from engaging with that content and how that moment-by-moment engagement shapes your digital experience. This is where digital storytelling enters the picture. We are all moving and shifting at ubiquitously rapid speeds and the need to create positive experiences and moments for audiences and users is more important than ever. Narratives, moments that connect with people emotionally in a way that gets them to do something they would not have done otherwise is what good content is about. You could be sparking conversation, dialogue, ultimately acting on a call to action, a sale, a sign-up, you name it.

Stories have the potential to shape and define who we are and to rally us all behind them for good or bad.Kickstarter is a good use of storytelling in this way as it is begun and predicated on allowing its users to create their own narratives to raise money.  Twitter lets us share our lives and the opinions and compress and express them  in 140 characters or less–a bit of haiku poetry for the soul of the end user has the potential to emerge. Facebook allows you and I to keep up with our favorite social topics, gossip and news stories in real time without waiting for the eleven o’clock news as we now seem to squeal much more often joyful hope that our favorite podcast just might expose the truth of who our favorite celebrity really is. In this way, new media has opened up a Pandora’s Box of real-time content aggregation that still speaks to our old primal urges to know more and to grow more curious while we try to understand our world all while we use each other to do so and discuss the aftermath.

So as humanity moves to the middle of the current decade, we might all wonder what’s next in telling the story of our digital lives. How will we continue to get our news? Will CNN be replaced by Twitter? Will Netflix moviegoers be replacing highly paid movie critics? Most important, will we all be ready for such a large role of content creation to be played by ourselves?

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