ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Storytelling in the Digital Age

Storytelling in the Digital Age. It should have have an acronym, but SDA sounds like a medical device. StoDA?

Or, maybe it’s time to drop the “Digital Age” reference and remember that storytelling, in any age, is storytelling.

No matter what you dub it, it’s a sizzling time to be a storyteller! Powerful new storytelling platforms, tools and communities are being invented every day, empowering storytellers and audiences but simultaneously introducing new challenges. As a writer, storyteller and teacher, I’m a bit obsessed with the evolution of author/audience relationships. Storytelling in the Digital Age is redefining this timeless relationship in exciting and unpredictable ways; empowering raconteurs of all stripes to explore new narrative vernaculars; unshackling indie creators from yesterday’s gatekeepers and referees; and enhancing audiences’ appetites for stories and previously unimaginable story interfaces.

But Storytelling in the Digital Age isn’t all noontime massages and dark chocolate. The proliferation of sexy media tempts creators to swap good narrative craft for snazzy special effects. Critics worry that audiences are becoming lazier, more passive even as increasingly interactive storytelling is possible.

What follows is a digital scrapbook of interesting tidbits about Storytelling in the Digital Age for you to check out. I’ll add and subtract as inspiration (and time) permit. Don’t hesitate to recommend juicy material that I’ve overlooked!

It’s a sizzling time to be a storyteller! New, powerful platforms and tools are invented every day. And storytelling communities are coalescing where and when they never existed before. Here’s a digital scrapbook of interesting tidbits for you to check out.

Poken: Digital Business Cards

Are Pokens the future of b-cards? (video via Bit Rebels)

Ready for a Poken? Not so quick? According to Diana Adams, CEO/owner of Adams Consulting Group (@adamsconsulting) in Atlanta, Georgia this is the future of b-cards!

I think puts it best when they say to “Simply pull out your Poken and ‘high five’ it with your new best friend’s. Clever RF technology then zaps the info between the devices, so next time you log on to your favorite site, your profiles are linked. Genius!” It functions as a business card sender and receiver. (Bit Rebels)

Goofy gadget? Hint of the future?

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It’s the Stories, Stupid!

Chris Camp at LavaCon (video via

“It’s the stories, stupid. So, how you relate to people? How you connect to people? It’s not the data; it’s not the dry content. You’ve got to be throwing engaging content, stories, emotional connections that people can relate to… They want to hang out with experiences. They want to relate to humans. And we’re not just tags and data and facts, we’re people!” ~ Chris Camp

Chris Camp’s LavaCon take-away should be a familiar reminder to all at this point. Right? Wrong? Then watch the video again. Web 2.0 (as well as all effective media, marketing, teaching, etc.) needs to humanize and personalize their message. Real content for real people. Give your audience a reason to care. Tell them stories. Listen to their stories. Weave these stories together and you’ll begin to develop the sort of relationship you need if you want to conect in the digital age.

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Wired Introduces New Digital Magazine

Video of Scott Dadich via

“There’s a revolution going on right now in the way that people consume journalism. We’re at a point where technology is going to enable us to view and consume media in an entirely different way… One thing that we’ve been great at doing is telling stories… This is just adding one more avenue of communicating and connecting with the brand of Wired… We really would like to offer more choices to our readers and to our advertisers and move beyond just the static notion of ink on a piece of paper.” ~ Scott Dadich (Creative Director, WIRED)

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StoryKit Digital Storytelling Application

StoryKit digital story app (Credit: The Tech Savvy Educator)

I got really really excited about an application I recently downloaded for the iPod Touch, and wanted to share a short preview, nothing too fancy. I’ve been coordinating my buildings efforts to pilot some iPod Touches, leading up to an eventual full classroom trial this fall, but in the meantime, we’re figuring out where these little devices might be useful in the classroom. Lots of people decry the use of the iPod since it’s primarly a consumption device, but there are some decent publication and creation applications as well, including StoryKit, a completely FREE digital story creation application! (The Tech Savvy Educator)

Ben Rimes’ video preview of StoryKit for the iPod Touch is yet another indication that digital storytelling has become mainstream, and that tools will continue to emerge that simplify the creation and sharing of digital stories. Although this app looks pretty basic, it’s user-friendly and free! I suspect that digital storytelling will be the next PowerPoint!

Read the full blog post at The Tech Savvy Educator.

Digital Storytelling Rocks

Telling stories is as old as the hills, as human as compassion and love, as necessary as air, sleep and chocolate. Fast forward to the digital age! Storytellers are inheriting more magical tools and techniques every day. Sounds, still and moving visuals, interaction, sharing, accessibility… This is the world of digital storytelling. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay! (

What’s your opinion on Digital Storytelling?

Are you familiar with It’s new to me. Always more fun to experiment than stand on the sidelines and watch, right? So I dove in! According to the mission statement on their homepage, “Amplicate collects similar opinions in one place; making them more likely to be found by people and companies.” Hmmm… Not so sure about companies, but there may be a few people out there who want to weigh in on the merits and demerits of digital storytelling. Do you think digital storytelling rocks? Or do you think digital storytelling sucks?

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Digital Storytelling

Image and quotation via

Digital Storytelling is the modern way to tell a story. Any story.  Storytelling is a practice that has been around for as long as man has been talking.

There are several resources available for teachers to include digital story telling in their instruction.  Microsoft has recently published the Digital Storytelling E-Book, and have also created some guides to get teachers started with Windows Live Movie Maker, and Photo Story 3, both free downloads from Windows Live.

In October, 2007 educator Alan Levine evaluated 50+ on-line tools that you can use to create your own web-based story. He used each tool to create the same story so you can evaluate the differences yourself. See all the results at his wiki

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Dries Buytaert on DrupalCon San Francisco

DrupalCon San Francisco ended a few days ago, so once again I’m sitting here with post-DrupalCon blues, trying to wrap my head around what just happened, digging out my backlog of work, and rediscovering my usual rhythm. It happens to me every time, and it is a sign of having had a great time. In short, DrupalCon San Francisco was ‘fantastic’, a word I use sparingly. It is best expressed in numbers, like Matt Cheney of Chapter Three did in his closing session:

  • Roughly 3000 registered attendees at an average ticket price of $205 USD.
  • 357 days of preparatory planning, including 31 general meetings and 105 daily phone calls. Unlike in the old days, I only participated in one such phone call.
  • 408 proposed sessions of which 131 sessions were accepted and presented.
  • Rented 37 conference rooms covering 750,000 square feet of the Moscone center.
  • Organized a core developer summit with 150 attendees, 16 lightning talks, 11 breakout sessions and 1 Franciscan monk.
  • Trained 495 people on Drupal using 20 Drupal training classes.
  • 80 people sprinted on testing.
  • 21 people sprinted on documentation.
  • 120 people trained to be core contributors.
  • 120 BoF gatherings across 11 rooms.
  • 6000 people watched my keynote live, one big stage, and assisted by a backstage A/V team of 6 people.
  • 2 amazing keynotes; one from Tim O’Reilly and one from the Whitehouse, who is now an Open Source contributor.
  • Spent $25,000 USD on scholarship to sponsor 20 attendees.
  • Recorded 131 sessions on video with 24 hour turnaround.
  • Streamed 10 sessions live with up to 3000 simultaneous viewers thanks to Brightcove.
  • Had up to 2200 people use the internet simultaneous consuming a 92 megabit pipe. Whoever did the wifi at Moscone needs a raise.
  • 1100 t-shirts sold along with 320 Drupal umbrellas.
  • Raised more than $400,000 USD from 50 sponsors. Thanks to TrellonGravitekLabs,Chapter ThreeCommerce GuysAcquiaPhase2 TechnologyMicrosoft and Rackspace for being Platinum Sponsors.
  • 50 volunteers helping with registrations on the opening day of the conference.
  • One volcano and no volcano insurance.
  • Had a 24/7 coding lounge named after Chx along with free ice cream.
  • Free parties with open bar every evening.
  • 0 IE6 users on the DrupalCon website, 43% Apple users.
  • 60,000 unique visits and 30,000 unique visitors on the conference website during the conference.
  • 15000 e-mails, 7650 tweets, 35 press hits, 5 press releases and 1 television spot on ABC.
  • $691,677 USD estimated expenses, $1,004,470 USD estimated revenue, $312,793 estimated profit for the Drupal Association.
  • $72,000 spent on coffee.
  • A big thank you for Jennifer Lea Lampton, Stephanie Canon, Lauren Nicole Roth and Matt Cheney and hundreds of other people that helped.
  • Two new Drupal conferences announced; one in Copenhagen, one in Chicago.


I had to pass along these astounding stats that Dries posted on his blog yesterday about DrupalCon 2010 that I was fortunate enough to attend in San Francisco a little over a week ago. I’m familiar with the “post-DrupalCon blues” that Dries describes. I’m still trying to shake them! Frankly it was a mind-blowing few days. It’s thrilling to see how mainstream Drupal is becoming, how user-friendly, how diversified, how multi-media friendly… And 3k attendees?!?! It was totally overwhelming! In the good way. ;-)

And the White House keynote was inspiring. Open source. Open government. Open Democracy. Open world. The future is bright! And everyone’s invited! No silos. Just one big-@#$ circus tent… Come one, come all!

A huge thanks to Dries for dreaming up and sharing Drupal. It’s a major game-changer, not only for websites, not only for web developers and web designers. I think that we’re only just beginning to comprehend the scope and potential for Drupal. And your ongoing stewardship of this wild and woolly juggernaut is commendable too. Thank you.

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Google to Invest $90,000 in Drupal

Google Summer of Code 2010

Google just announced that they will sponsor 18 Drupal developer stipends in this year’s Summer of Code program(SoC). Google provides a stipend of 5,000 USD to each student developer, of which 4,500 USD goes to the student and 500 USD goes to Drupal Association (or to the mentors). With 18 accepted applications this adds up to a 90,000 USD investment over a three-month period, bringing the total investment made by Google in Drupal through SoC to over $450,000 USD.

Read Dries Buytaert’s announcement…

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Semantic Web and Drupal Video

Semantic web and Drupal video via

This video was at Drupalcon 2010 in San Francisco yesterday by Dries Buytaert (@dries) to help introduce the future of RDF in Drupal 7.

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