Thoughts on New Media Storytelling

Technology users spend a dedicated percentage of time reading text via smart devices: Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat, blogs, news sites, etc.

That’s you, that’s me, that’s pretty much everyone in the civilised world. People spend more time reading comments on social media than newspapers, magazines or even books (remember those things, buddy?)

This presents an opportunity for creative artists to be heard. So get creative! But get creative with direction.

THE IDEA: creative artists can engage social media readers by developing stories that utilise or bloom from smart device apps or technology. New Media for the Social Media generation.

I’m sure there’s stuff out there that already does this or you’ve already experienced such stories with Twitter micro-fiction or your friend’s snapchats, so you get the drift.

See, the key to making this work is the combination of images and text. Twitter micro-fiction is cool in its own way but it gets a little bogged down with filler posts. Sometimes images are needed to keep the finger scrolling.

Instagram is excellent for this. Think storyboarding!

With Insta, you upload doctored photos to create a stream of arty content. Instead of the regular old selfies or camera conscious poses, how about photos that act as shots for your story — story boarding!

Instead of regular descriptions and obvious hashtags, what about lines of action that detail the shot, some dialogue and hashtags on specific words that open doors to virtual communities intrinsic of the story.

Or keep the selfies and camera conscious poses and apply the screenwriting-style action lines and dialogue for some exciting non-fiction. Excite your friends!

It would be cool if the content reflects the technology by raising questions about it or the act of reading the content becomes part of a meta-narrative, perhaps that’s how the sub-plot develops, and nothing’s more meta- than users’ comments.

Comments can contain feedback, perhaps fan dialogue and even random hashtags (how would you deal with that?), all of which would deepen the immersive experience of interacting with the text while also raising public awareness of this semi-new type of media.

Ok, what about the hardware side of things?

Touch, swipe and gyroscope technology in smart devices could be incorporated into the reading experience, leading to video game levels of immersion.

Readers could tap hyperlinked words to open other sites, like Wikipedia, for information that helps build your story’s world: swipe left to continue the story, swipe up to enter a branching path or shake the device during some scenes to enter a flashback about the antagonist’s past that relates to the protagonist’s future!

It sounds like a lot of work so you’d really need to plan all this out first. I think a linear narrative as the spine of the story would form a simple-to-follow path that micro-narratives could easily branch out from and even circle back into.

Anyway, food for thought.

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