The advancement of technology has given us new tools to work with in all forms of life and culture, and literature is no exception. Digital literature includes platforms such as eBooks, websites, and blogs, but even social media platforms like Facebook can be used to share stories with others, and without the need for a professional publisher.
Particularly with the advancement of social media, I would argue that there are multiple mediums in which to share stories. Social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram can communicate stories through the use of images, and with little to no words involved. People have been telling stories this way for years, just like the First Nations peoples did with their totems. You can also combine these platforms into creating powerful narratives, using a combination of words and images to make a story even more impactful.
There are digital platforms that allow you to share your story orally as well. Youtube is a great example of this. You can record yourself telling stories, self-publish them, and share them with a large amount of people. However, this way of storytelling is different still from traditional storytelling, where someone is able to change their telling of the study (MacNeil). In the case of Youtube videos, it is like publishing a literary work, in that once it is published it remains (virtually) unchanged, or cannot be changed as easily as traditional storytelling can.
Hypertext is also a ‘digitized’ form of another type of literature or piece of writing – that of interactive stories. Perhaps you remember the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books from your younger days. These books required you to read through a passage and then flip to a certain page depending on what you want your next actions to be. This allows the reader to have even more involvement with the story, and in a way they are able to shape the story themselves. They still do not know what their choices will bring (unless, of course, you opted to read the choice passages beforehand and chose the path you found most desirable), so a story is still being told to them, but they simply have more interaction now and a greater sense of control. ;Through the use of hypertext, this same form of storytelling can be brought in the form of digital literature. Sometimes hypertext may just be used in a posting like this one, where the reader can make a decision about whether they want to delve further into the literary work or not, or sometimes it can be used like in the interactive fiction books, where one is immersed within the pages of the web to follow through a story with many clicks and page changes.
I believe these two aspects of digital literature have positive impacts on literature and stories. They allow more people to communicate easily and through multiple mediums as well. More readers and listeners can be reached, and this can allow a single story to spread very far – one that would probably not be able to otherwise. And that could be a very sensational story indeed.
Croom, Kukhautusha. Visual Literature. Digital image. Morementum. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.
Jerz, Dennis G. “Interactive Fiction: What Is It?” Interactive Fiction: What Is It? N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.
MacNeil, Courtney. “The Chicago School of Media Theory Theorizing Media since 2003.” The Chicago School of Media Theory RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.
“How to Tell Powerful Narratives on Instagram.” Nieman Storyboard How to Tell Powerful Narratives on Instagram Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.