The shift has happened, we have reached a point of no return. Orality gave birth to the story, a communal channel of repeated rhythms and rhymes: myths of mortal men claiming triumph to gods; amazing tales of fire, earth, wind, and water; songs and hymns of timeless legends remembered in lore.
Soon after came the age of the all mighty written word. History was written, and what was not was forever forgotten. A literate man, now, had more wealth of knowledge than all the kings, queens, and nobleman of past. The written word lasted in triumph for centuries to come – until a few ones and zeros took over. A new digital playground emerged – the information age.
The stories that were once orated by shamans, clerics and wise-old folks had no owner. The stories that were once printed and published became re-imagined and reclaimed by the public sphere. In the digital age there are no owners of stories. The audience, now, if willing, will take hold or hostage anything they deem unfit. The age of crowd-sourcing/funding, posts and reposts, likes and unlikes, tags and tweets has taken over. Creative control is just as much in the hands of the viewer/reader/player as the director/writer/producer; from petitions that number in the millions for unwanted changes in a popular teen novel’s character, to the digital roar on blog and social media sites about a ‘AAA’ games questionable ending. The audiences that were the quiet, passive listeners are no more.
People tend to develop extremely deep connections to stories. Stories for some people are sacrosanct, and if so, they deserve to have a say in the creation, formation, or destruction of that tale. The shift has happened, and storytelling has been forced to evolve. No longer is the story a one way channel for delivering discourse, thanks to digitality it is a joint production.