Storytelling’s gone digital!

“Before [in Ghana], this was how you heard and knew the best stories: young exhausted faces yet with bright eyes like those of an eagle sat by the fireside in the night, eager to hear another story narrated by one of the elders in the village. “Once upon a time…”; then the children got even more excited.” I barely experienced this when growing up because I never lived in a village. After my dad told me this, I felt a little jealous about all the kids who got to have this experience; listening to a story by the fireside.

This traditional way of telling stories still exist but the new form of storytelling, which comes in the form of digital storytelling has taken a huge place over the years. New developments in technology allow for new media to tell stories: good, informative and/or moral stories that can be accessed anywhere at anytime (one beneficial feature of having media literacy: online databases vs. traditional databases). Digital storytelling can be revealed through statuses posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc, blogs as a resource for movies, ongoing stories shared by newscasters on TV, among others. John Branch’s “Snow Fall, the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” begins with a narrative about the life of Elyse, who survived after being buried by the snow at Tunnel Creek when skiing. Branch gives so much information about this part of the Cascades, and also engages his readers because of the storytelling component he adds to it. I would probably not have read about Tunnel Creek but the narrative at the beginning “pulls me in” to read. Bryan Alexander reveals further that digital story is also evident even in still photos and games.

“What isn’t storytelling?” Bryan Alexander asks. Though we may identify some things by itself (like a chair, a single number like 5) that cannot be considered stories, the combination of these single elements can become a story, which can be told digitally. What do you come to know when you see a photo of a chair with five legs placed in an empty dark room or a video showing how a five-legged chair is made? This is a power of #metaliteracy; merging together good, informative and moral stories and telling them through media by not just telling but also showing.

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