Digital storytelling isn’t just a practice or an idea, it’s a continuously evolving revolution. It’s not just about one person’s story, but how the story of one can become the story of many. It’s also about how a story can resonate and create change. This week’s reading had me puzzled at first as to why we were reading the tale of a single person and his achievements in the digital storytelling age. Quickly, I began to realize that there was more to it than that.
In “A Road Traveled: The Evolution of the Digital Storytelling Practice,” one man details his journey from small-time justice activist and theater leader to founder of the San Francisco Digital Media Center with a global focus on education, health, and human services. Along the way he discovered the heart and soul of hat it means to be a digital storyteller. The biggest take-away I discovered from reading his life’s work came when I read the following passsage:
Storytelling is a profound part of all of our lives. Given the opportunity to tell our unique stories, empowers us to feel like we are bringing meaning to the world around us. It elevates our status when we feel that we are helping others through the telling of our own journeys. When we are oppressed from telling our stories or are unsure of how to get our stories heard, the lack of significance to inspire change can kill our spirits. This may have been the most profound realization in my own journey to learn more about storytelling. I have seen the importance in giving others the opportunity to storytell, and I have seen the science behind why it engages people, but now I really understand the heart and soul of why we must communicate our tales.
The reading was also quite insightful in helping to see the transition from story readings to live performance to digital media. Another section that stood out to me said the following:
As digital media began enhancing storytelling, the presentation of stories became less about the perfect and well-honed Hollywood presentations and more about the informal, conversational stories of the common person. Closing this gap between performer and audience again served to uplift the everyday person and again bring out the heart and soul of storytelling.
After seeing all of the different places storytelling has been leading up to the digital age, I am left wondering about what is next in this continuing evolution of practice. What comes after digital storytelling? What is the next step in telling the story of the next generations to come?