Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers? Amber Sandberg

Does technology make us better storytellers? Yes, no, and maybe.

 Technology Makes Us Better Storytellers

Some might say that the personal computer was the best thing to happen to writing and storytelling since, like, ever.  I would have to agree. Back in the days of the typewriter, telling a story was a headache – vials of white-out were a must and the nearest wastebasket was always full of crumpled paper.

Technology has since simplified the process of putting stories on paper.  Digital technology has provided a limitless vat of information so that writers can research, improve details, and therefore add value and quantity to our storytelling capabilities. In this respect, technology has made us better storytellers.

Technology Does Not Make Us Better Storytellers

I feel that the excessive use of technology and the wide array of digital entertainment has made us all impatient. We want it now. Reading a good story requires a little patience and some pondering. Writing a good story requires even more patience and even more pondering. Great stories might exist, but if readers aren’t captured by a character, intent, events, goals, opposition, and several details within the first 50 words, those readers might not finish that great story.

Every great story needs an audience. And when the audience lacks the attention necessary for complex and detailed stories, writers will turn their attention to those that are shorter and less detailed.   That’s my theory anyway. It goes back to business school and the theory of supply and demand. If people demand short, impatient stories, writers will write them.

Technology Might Make Us Better Storytellers

In the days of paper, finding a book or a story was a matter of getting your hands on something that had been published. Not all writers get published, however, which means there are loads of talented writers out there, sporting unpublished and out-of-this world stories. I just know it. Now that stories can be distributed easily, and without the aid of Big Publishing, more stories can be made available to us all.

The “might” or “maybe” part of this theory is that more bad stories will be made available to us as well.

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3 thoughts on “Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers? Amber Sandberg

  1. meaganmthornton January 22, 2015 / 3:35 am

    Amber, I really like the fact that you present clear representations of each of the possible positions on this topic. The format of your post makes each easy to identify and read quickly. I would ask one question though: even if we do have decreased attention spans, does that necessarily mean we are worse storytellers? Can’t a good story, a truly good one, still be created or told in a small window of time, even without meticulous/ponderous preparation or time required to read? – Ben Brzowski

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  2. meaganmthornton January 23, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    I agree with both your arguments on how digital technology affects storytelling, and admittedly have been affected by today’s ever-shortening attention span. I have a hard time getting through stories if I’m not gripped in the first few pages, and I sometimes even find myself switching to my phone if the story isn’t good enough. Technology also makes me a worse writer at times since whenever I get bored, I’m able to go off on a tangent and waste hours on Youtube and other sites on the internet. Does this outweigh the technical advantages technology gives us? I’m not entirely sure. ~ Alexander Leandowski

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    • meaganmthornton January 25, 2015 / 2:42 am

      The point about audience attention span is important here. Today’s storytellers need to know how to catch attention and catch it quickly. The phrase often used is “cut through all the noise”. I will be curious to hear how people think we can achieve that attention grabbing story. -Meagan

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