Storytelling in the Digital Age

Okay… admittedly, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written on this blog (and really rather sad that my last post, which I wrote nearly a year ago, started with a similar statement).  For those of you who know me well, you know it’s because my writing career has become pretty exciting over the course of the past six months and as a result my workload has increased exponentially.  And yes, I am still working the “Events” day job too.  I guess I’m making a go at this whole “Jack of All Trades” business I’ve heard so much about.

On another note, you can probably tell that I did not follow through on my “daily writing project” in 2012.  Well, I guess I should specify that I didn’t complete it here… in blog form.  I can, with much certainty, tell you that I have written every single day for the past six months.  You know, Social Media copywriting for Facbeook, Twitter and all that jazz. But I digress.story 3

I’m here today to talk about Story, a new iPhone App by Disney that allows the user to easily document “moments” via pictures, video and… wait for it… storytelling!  It’s actually kind of ingenious (and extremely user friendly.  Seriously, grandma could figure this one out).  If you’re pausing here and thinking of abandoning ship because this sounds like a sponsored post, please don’t.  I don’t work for Disney, nor have they contacted me regarding this review.  A friend of mine posted a link to the app on Facebook a few days ago and it sounded interesting, so I downloaded it and, quite frankly I kind of fell in love. What writer (and social media lover) wouldn’t want to partake in a new Disney app called Story?

My first attempt (pictured throughout this post) isn’t all that amaze, but you get the point.

Why is this so great, you ask?  Well let’s get real for a second.  Social Media, Film/TV and the invention of the text message have shortened our attention span. Dramatically.  Even I (an avid writer, reader and consumer of all things interesting) sometimes struggle to get through news articles that are just a tad too lengthy.  We’re told to keep it short… or no one will pay attention. Even this post has probably already lost a reader or two.  Admit it, a little part of you wants to click out right now.  We now live in a world where we are inundated with Social Media sites that each share bits and pieces of our individual stories, but never a true narrative. Facebook might be the closest thing, but everything there is still so piecemeal (a picture here, a status there – maybe a check-in if you’re FB crazy like me), but nothing cohesive, nothing that fully narrates a particular moment in your life. Twitter limits you to 140 characters so it’s great for sharing random thoughts, but a story? Not so much. Instagram is all about your life in images (delightful, most definitely, but oftentimes it just isn’t enough). And don’t even get me started on Pinterest, Snapchat, FourSquare, LinkedIN and any other number of platforms we use to entertain ourselves throughout the course of any given day.

‘Story’ takes all of that and does exactly what the name implies, it creates your own personal memoir in a sharable photo-book format and gives you the ability to add your own text.  Disney’s taking it back to what they do best – telling a great story, only they’re enabling you (the user/dreamer/writer/editor) to tell whatever narrative it is you want to tell. Fact or fiction (but probably fact!) your moments are now in your hands.

It’s kind of like scrapbooking for the digital age.

While my example is limited to pictures, you can even use video from your phone in these storybooks.  And what this example does not show (sorry my tech savvy skills don’t extend to breaking through WordPresses firewalls on embedded video code from non-recognized sources) the storybook is fully animated. The pictures enlarge one by one, the pages flip on their own and (in true Disney fashion) even the text has a way of coming to life!

story 2At this point in the game, your sharing options are limited to posting your story on Facebook or just emailing the link to friends and family (or apparently embedding the video on a blog… if you happen to be versed on such matters), but it looks like they’re planning on expanding to Pinterest and Twitter soon.

This app will certainly appeal to anyone who’s tired of simply taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures and will likely explode among the mom set (and rightfully so… can you imagine all of the adorable baby “moments” that could be documented using this tool?).

I’ve always been a huge fan of Disney for one main reason… they know how to tell a damn good story.  And thankfully, it translates into everything they do.  From the movies, to the theme parks and even down to their apps (have I mentioned this one is free?) they always know how to weave a rather enchanted tale.

Download it. Try it. Tell me what you think!

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