Fragmented storytelling

An interesting article in the Guardian about fragmented storytelling in the age of the twitter attention span. (That’s twit-span to you.) I’m interested in the idea of how storytelling evolves and how we can tell stories well in more fragmented ways, or even while moving across big spaces. (Though donning a surgical mask to hear vignettes about social drudgery? Christ. And it’s so comfy at home.) But something about breaking your story up into pieces and asking the audience to chose their path through it reminds me of those fantasy adventure books we had as kids. Fight the wizard? Turn to page 10. Steal his goblet? Turn to page 25. Isn’t the joy of stories surrendering yourself to what happens next? If you lose the authority of the storyteller, I think you’re losing too much.

What’s interesting is keeping the fragmentation – which is inevitable for anyone telling brand stories across all kinds of media or dividing a story up into themes to tell across an exhibition – and keeping the storytelling authority too. Instead of offering the audience control of the direction the story takes, offer it in tempting morsels and invite them to use their brains to piece it together. Instead of playing user feedback at the same volume as your own voice, invite it in in ways that gives layers and texture in useful places – control it and edit it. Sometimes it’s nice to hear a snatch of what the whole world thinks, but only in places where the roar of the audience helps tell the story.

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