This essay seeks to explore the current state of storytelling traditions and practices in an age of increasingly pervasive digital technology. As its starting point it takes one concept and two key texts. The concept is the idea of “storytelling as mess,” developed from social science thinking to describe a state of uncertainty and change around knowledge and understanding. The essay argues that storytelling’s often contradictory nature, its multiplicities, and its temporary status is a welcome mess and that its ability to “perform the moment” makes it a valuable tool in allowing us to navigate a rapidly changing world full of uncertainties. The two key texts are Walter Benjamin’s essay “Der Erzähler” and John Everett Millais’s painting The Boyhood of Raleigh, texts that explore the nature of traditional storytelling practices at key moments of societal change, and these are used to explore how such practices have responded to the advent of digital technology and, in particular Web 2.0, and how these relate to traditions in narrative culture. The essay proposes that the advent of social media technologies has led to a huge growth in the sharing of personal stories, memories, and testimonies to new, global audiences. Furthermore, it has led to new kinds of collaboration, where the traditional roles of teller and listener have become increasingly blurred, leading to new storytelling practices and traditions.
""Another Fine Mess": The Condition of Storytelling in the Digital Age,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 1
, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol1/iss2/1