I'm always interested in storytelling in its many guises, so the recent article titled "The internet is killing storytelling" was sure to catch my eye [I got it via @stephanierieger].
The author claims that in the modern hyper-connected society the long-form narrative, commonly seen in books, is losing out to the bite-sized snacking culture of the Web.
I read all the comments, many pointing out that narrative was alive and well, the Web full of all sorts of texts and stories and fan-fiction and such (long tail-ish and thru democratized creation and distribution). While a decent rebuttal of the author's thesis, these comments still missed one key fact (below).
Also, this article isn't really saying anything new, but bringing up a recurring theme. We've heard all this before, so it's a bit odd to see this thesis in a modern 2009 article. Indeed, I claim that this article is even weaker now than it would have been 5 years ago.
What all the commentors missed was that this whole article and all the comments focused solely on text as the medium for narrative. Humans have had many forms with which to tell stories - dance, art, song, theater, radio, TV - all of which are used in some form on the Web.
I claim that the Web has caused a huge transformation in non-text forms of narrative (in oral culture, as it were). We now have easy to use and widely available audio and visual tools and the Web has become a strong discovery and distribution mechanism for these productions. A scan of iTunes, Jamendo, YouTube, or Flickr will reveal of treasure trove of stories.
And, due to the temporary nature of digital media (either due to formatting issues or deletion or loss) we have more features of an oral culture than a literate culture. And that isn't bad. Unless one feels, like it seems this author does, that literary storytelling has primacy over other forms of storytelling.
Eh, I don't think so.
Image from . SantiMB .