From the beginning of time, storytelling has been woven into our DNA. From cave drawings and hieroglyphics, to the fables that have been handed down from generation to generation, the human race has always used storytelling as a form of expression and a way to make sense of the world we live in.
While we started off as a verbal culture, relying on word-of-mouth to disperse news, the written language eventually became the primary form of communication and thereby altered the way in which stories were told. Much like this paradigm shift of the past, we’re at an equally transformative moment in history. The introduction of modern-day technology has propelled us toward a digital revolution, once again reinventing the art, science and practice of storytelling.
Charles Melcher of Melcher Media is on a mission to discover and celebrate the interactive works and technology trends that are revolutionizing the way that stories are told. In 2012, he founded the Future of StoryTelling summit to shed light on the shifting storytelling landscape and digital revolution that is taking place within society.
“It [technology] is transforming the way we think about the world we live in and communicate what we see, feel and experience,” said Melcher. “Much like learning to read the written language, we’re in the beginning stages of digital literacy. A lot of trends are just beginning and we’re starting to explore how new technology can be used as a platform for creativity and expression.”
Whether it’s blogs, social media, mobile apps or the web in general, technology is impacting the way consumers and companies are using different forms of media to share (and consume) content.
So, how do we master the digital tools we have at our disposal to tell stories in new, impactful and innovative ways?
What once took a lot of time and resources to skillfully master, creative tools such as photo or video editing software, have now become more accessible to members of the general public. Through mobile applications, people are now able to capture experiences in their environment and share them with the world via social media. There has been an explosion of people blogging, tweeting, sharing photos and Vine videos. This democratization of creative tools and mobile apps enables content creators to make elaborate stories that take the art of storytelling to the next level.
“The introduction of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices has enabled a new, mobile way for people to see themselves and see the world,” said Melcher. “And, the type of content that comes from that experience is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”
Not only have people started creating content in new ways, they’re using social media and news aggregation apps to consume the content that is being produced.
This new era has given rise to brands becoming their own publishing companies. Melcher pointed out that the brands that have been successful at using new forms of digital media all have one thing in common—they enable their customers to become part of the story and take advantage of the content consumers are producing.
“It’s paramount for brands to realize that they have to enable their customers to be part of the conversation. They have to empower customers to interact with their product in such a way that allows the consumer to become the focal point of the story, the creator of the story,” Melcher noted.
GoPro does a good job of this. Not only have they created a great product that enables others to be creative and tell stories, they’re leveraging the original content being produced by their customers and brand advocates to tell their company’s story in a unique, rewarding and engaging way.
When it comes to the future of digital storytelling, we’re just starting to scratch the surface. As Melcher says, “stories will never die, but the ways we tell them are changing and will continue to change.”