Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine’s article, “Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre” favourably explains Web 2.0 storytelling — a nonlinear, interwoven type of storytelling that utilizes today’s web-based technologies. It’s an interesting examination of how storytelling is evolving. The last time storytelling modes changed as drastically as it is today, the written word had been invented. To clarify, before the written word, stories were repetitive and rhyming so that they could be remembered. Once written language was invented, these tropes were not required anymore. With that being said, it’s a fair assumption that with the advent of the web, we are living in one of human history’s greatest turning points regarding language. The morphing of storytelling in this ways still in its infancy relative to the evolution of language and narratives.
I think that the only issue with this type of storytelling is that if it’s done poorly, the narrative can become chaotic. This is possibly because human brains organize information in a linear sequence mirroring our experience of time. However, the human brain also categorizes information by creating groups made up of similar-concepts. If done well, this type of storytelling could be very effective and stimulating for a reader. There are many examples of good Web 2.0 storytelling. For instance, NPR’s project A Photo I Love combines audio, visuals, and text to promote the Chicago Tribune’s book Gangsters & Grifters. The project showcases a photograph from the book while the editor explains why she loves the photo for approximately three minutes. Alternately, Pitchfork utilizes audio, gifs, photos, text, and flash for their cover stories, making their articles multi-sensory. An online music magazine where readers can listen to the music they’re reading about is an incredibly effective and satisfying experience.
I liked this article because it stood in contrast to previous readings, such as “The Web We Lost” and “The Web We Have to Save.” It discusses one of the innovations of the web and how this is both entertaining and educational. This form of storytelling also offers an alternative mode to a genre such as memoirs. I believe that Web 2.0 storytelling can be considered an accurate depiction of our daily lives, which are often experienced in small snippets of information and feelings that we ultimately make sense of. On the other hand, memoirs attempt to help a reader understand a person’s everyday life in a cohesive, often linear format. For this reason, Dani Shapiro’s article “A Memoir is Not a Status Update” was a really interesting comparison to have this week, as a person who finds value in both forms. Ultimately, this reading put words to the phenomenon that we are all witnessing in 2016. I just wish that the authors had utilized their own advice and made the article less like a language arts textbook and more like a piece of Web 2.0 storytelling.