Digital Storytelling

According to Wikipedia “digital storytelling” stems from the ideas of “grassroots” movements. It incorporates the concepts of traditional oral tradition of relating ones story or a story important to them, but for the most part a “true story.”

The definition of what “digital storytelling” must be a loose interpretation, based on the technology and human connection. With the range of tools combined with the range of human creativity storytelling can vary widely as should the definition.

Digital storytelling can incorporate multi-media capabilities to tell any ones story. Music, editing, imagery, song, and spoke word combined to create a modern digital version of the art of storytelling.

In the web site The Elements of Digital Style the authors, Nora Paul and Christina Fiebich, detail five elements of “digital storytelling;” media, action, relationship, context, and communication. This project from, Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota, is working to undertaken and explain the connections between, user (storyteller), the media/medium and how we as viewers/participants respond or react to “digital storytelling” by applying it to the five elements.

They define five elements as thus:

  • Media: the actual material/medium used to crate the Digital Story, within this they cite for criteria used to analyze the media. Configuration, the relationships to the media; type, the media used; curentness, the delivery; and time/space, dealing with editing of the work.
  • Action: this deals with the movement taken by the producer and then by the user. They further describe the types of action that can be within these works.
  • Relationship: deals with the relationship between the story and the user, which they claim can be and open or closed based on five criteria; linearity, customization, calculation, manipulation, and appendage.
  • Context: “that which surrounds, and gives meaning to, something else.” This is achieved through”linking” related information, which they also utilize a set of consideration when analyzing the digital story.
  • Communication: which can be one-way or two-way, with factors including configuration (directionality), type (method(s) utilized), currentness (delivery), moderation (editing), and purpose (the reason).

The best site I found for truly touching human “digital storytelling” is the CDS: The Center for Digital Storytelling. The featured work example what can be considered as the “art of storytelling.”

In her “digital story” Tanya by Monte Hallis utilizes four of the five elements. The one she, and many others I viewed did not use was the “context” element, there was not much linking to the outside. Hallis used media to the enhance the story of finding and losing a friend, by using flash imagery, clips, music and her own voice over for the narration. She used action of the still shots to create a strong visual movement that gave viewer the sense of loss. The relationship Hallis created was a closed one, not open to the user, but still effective. And, lastly the story “Tanya” uses communication in a one-way method to communicate to the user the loss of her new friend. It is a very powerful story told in two minutes.

Tanya by Monte Hallis
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