Ovi's Blog on technology and the web

Evolution of storytelling and technology

Storytelling

Since the beginning of humanity, storytelling and our ability to learn is what has set us apart from other species. It almost seems that our interest in stories is in our genes and is what makes our brain work the way it does. I really don’t know if that’s the case, but for the sake of this article it sounds pretty good. I will attempt to briefly go through history as I see it and tie in storytelling with the advancement in technology for telling stories in new ways. It will however be based on my limited knowledge of history with perhaps very little actual, historical information. So let’s see..

  • Verbally – In the early days of telling stories around the campfire after a day of hunting and gathering, today we do pretty much the same thing at the local bar after work.
  • Written – As language developed, people started writing and delivering letters and writing books by hand to distribute stories to other people.
  • Theater – Storytelling eventually turns into an artform and a new approach of live performance is developed which reaches larger audiences.
  • Printing Press – A breakthrough in communication as the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively distribute copies of stories allows everyone to get news and ideas from a newspaper or magazine. It also leads to another print communication artform, graphic design.
  • Radio – Transmitting news instantly and expanding live performances and the art of storytelling. And let’s not forget what it’s done for the creation and distribution of music.
  • Movies – Live performances being filmed and shown to a wider audience at the same time taking the artform even further as technology in this area alone greatly advances. Part of which is animation which also turns into its own artform.
  • TV – Being able to watch something in the comfort of one’s home, with more choice than ever before of what to watch. Also created a new medium of interactive storytelling, video games.
  • Internet – Every day we see new ways of how the Internet is changing communication and storytelling. From easy communication through Email, to everyone being able to publish their ideas with a Blog. It’s like the printing press with limitless possibilities.

In fact, the Internet encompasses all previous forms of media before it as it makes it all more accessible than ever. From reading news and books, listening to radio broadcasts, watching movies and TV shows, finding local live theater performances and concerts, and on and on.

The sky’s the limit.. that phrase makes more sense in this context as all media formats are going digital and being made available in what’s being called ‘the cloud’. Storytelling and its distribution has reached a maximum and as it has advanced mankind in the past will no doubt continue and at a faster rate than ever before. I think that sounds pretty good too.

Originally published April 3rd, 2009