The Strange Truth about Storytelling and Digital Media

The Strange Truth about Storytelling and Digital Media

Our stories are embedded in our culture. Digital technology tools make them more accessible than ever, in various forms ranging from social media apps on smartphones to the internet streaming on screens of various size. Ever watch a reality show, YouTube, or the news? Use Facebook or Instagram? Keep digital or print photo albums? Listen to podcasts? Read biographies/autobiographies or see movies based on a true story? Today, we have all sorts of real people and real stories in our midst, to consume as observers or to experience as participants. Whether you tuned into the Jerry Springer Show or The Real World in the dawn of reality TV or are currently hooked on The Real Housewives of Orange County or The Bachelor, the lines have blurred between audience and star, between truth and fabrication, between entertainment and exploitation. The technology and tools that enable us to connect with the click of a button can be used for positive or ill gain, can be helpful or harmful, or somewhere in between. Some of the shadow side of our culture has been exposed through these means. People in positions of influence and power have been caught on video doing abusive or harmful acts and these stories have gone viral. Others have used these tools as a venue for their addiction; for instance, to porn or a particular game. When we unconsciously tune into the shadow side, it often feels yucky inside, like eating a junk food meal. No nourishment there – just a guilty pleasure with some immediate gratification attached. And like junk food, it can lead to cravings and addiction because it ultimately...

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