Digital storytelling – don’t forget the text

There are some great ideas for digital storytelling activities over on the DS106 blog (I love Tom Woodward's suggestions for restrictions eg telling stories using only photos from a specific category).

They are very video and image – centric though so thought I'd speak up for text also amongst all the mashup mayhem. Obviously people have been doing storytelling online for ages, so we need to find new ways of doing it. One possibility would be tell a story through twitter. People have tried this before, some good examples in this post.

What I have in mind is not to actually use Twitter, but to create a story from a fictional set of tweets. It would be like Cloverfield in twitter. Or taking an existing movie and retelling it as if tweets from the character. What I like about this is the possibility for the story to emerge, and for the reader to know more than the characters. So is the twitter epistolary a possibility Mr Groom?

7 Comments

  1. Jim Groom says:

    Man, just keep the awesomeness coming. And the image/video centric critique of ds106 last semester was also quite prevalent amongst my students. So much so that many returned to text when they were give free reign in the Fan Fiction assignment. Indeed, one of the best projects was a piece based on Harry Potter that was, *gasp*, entirely text, but extremely engaging: http://digitalme.b4ssm4st3r.info/harry-potter-fan-fiction/
    So you are right, text get no special privileging in ds106 (unlike it does in every other space of academia) but for you we will make an exception :)
    As for the fictional twitter story a la Cloverfield, it is brilliant. What’s more, we have the ciritcal mass of people where we can start playing roles with Twitter pretty easily around characters in a movie, as you suggest, and have some real fun :) So upwards and onwards with your god damned text.

  2. Tom says:

    I agree. I have been neglecting text. I wonder how much we need to use the unique possibilities of electronic text in this particular medium in order to make this something more than a storytelling course. Maybe that doesn’t matter. No real point in over specifying but it’s something I’ve thought about some. Now that you’ve prompted me, I’ll have to get some examples with more a text focus.
    I keep coming back to this but I’d like to see people remixing the work of classmates as assignments. Maybe you get tagged in some way and you have to recreate someone else’s story but in an opposing medium- they did video, you recreate in text. Kind of like the “Reverse” card in Uno. We could give out a certain number of “cards” like these (have to think about other kind of cards) to people taking the course and they could tag people in the comments. That’d be kind of wild and bring in some game like elements.

  3. Tim Owens says:

    Someone mentioned this video of a Web 2.0 Nativity Story that has been making the rounds recently over at Tom’s blog and I think it applies well to your idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vZrf0PbAGSk
    I think it would be a lot of fun to have a group collaboration effort on remaking a story in digital form, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or whatever.

  4. “For sale; baby shoes, never used.” Hemmingway should have lived long enough to see Twitter. #sixwordstories.
    Also, don’t forget sites that use the blog as a literary medium, like Dracula Blogged (http://infocult.typepad.com/dracula/).

  5. Joel Greenberg says:

    Check out TWHistory at http://twhistory.org/. They have done Titanic, Cuban Missile Crisis and Battle of Gettysburg, all in Twitter. It actually works as a great educational resource as well as being fun!

  6. Brian says:

    It may be too much to take on, but Alternate Reality Gaming (especially as defined by Bryan Alexander) has always struck me as a very cool, text-oriented network narrative.

  7. Jim says:

    @Brian,
    Tom Woodward has been dying to create a successful ARG, and this would provide an occasion, but damn those things are hard to do right. I’d love to see a splinter group try and pull it off.

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