Digital Storytelling Uncategorized

Have Mercy On Us Punxsutawney Phil (Week 3 Summary)

Really wish this lil guy didn’t see his shadow this year… I need some sun and serotonin!

Daily Creates: Week 3

Hello again! First up on the docket are this weeks Daily Creates on Twitter. The Daily Creates are great ways to remind me to check in on DS106 every day of the week, and make sure i’m working on the weeks’ assignments a little bit each day. I enjoy seeing my classmates’ creative replies and getting inspired by their submissions before I formulate my own. It is interesting because there is such varied responses and it just shows how different everyone thinks. The creates that I did this week involved doodling on the Notes app, using emojis, taking screenshots of images (on a Mac, done so with the keys Command + Shift + 4), uploading images, linking a YouTube video to a song, and overall pushing myself to think outside the box. They have not been too challenging (technologically speaking) so far, but I have also chosen which ones to complete strategically. I like how each create causes me to use different methods to complete them, and hope to use them as a way to grow my media skills further. They are slowly becoming habit, and as I mentioned last week they are a nice respite among the heavier workload of my classes. My goal for the coming weeks with these is to interact more with my classmates’ tweets and to get more complex with my submissions. I am additionally looking forward to seeing how my DS106 Twitter has grown over the semester. Below y’all can check out my submissions, embedded right here into this blog:

I strongly encourage y’all to listen to the song Peaches that I linked in this tweet and imagine yourself somewhere warm. Very therapeutic.

Week 3: Assignments and Reflections

Assignment #1: Stop and Smell the Roses – (original assignment post)

This weeks’ assignments were all writing based assignments, but of course there’s a little digital media sprinkled in! This assignment was just a reminder to take a step away from the screens and experience the world around us. The great outdoors! Many people are struggling right now in quarantine, especially college students. I believe that this experience is representative of #ourstory. All of us in this class are going through this right now. Our whole lives/schedules have been disrupted. Our daily interactions and activities have to be greatly limited, and experienced in new ways. These blogs help us express ourselves as college students living during uncertain times. These posts help us share our experiences, and in some instances they are probably a lot different than students’ posts in regular semesters. Our story is being written during this pandemic and through this class, and it could be cool to look back on them and remember this when we finally make it out. Zoom fatigue is a real thing, so this assignment was a nice refresher. Let’s do a little sensory exercise. POV: you’re me, walking on the beach in 30 degree weather.

The sun shines brightly in the sky, yet the friendly warmth it usually lends is nowhere to be found. The wind is crisp and harsh, cutting against your cheeks and flushing them red with cold. The waves crash loudly in your ears, even though they’re safely tucked in the hood of your sweatshirt. You miss the feeling of the warm sand in between your toes, for now the sand is chilled and dense beneath your tennis shoes. Fragile sea foam rests on the shore before it is pulled back into the frigid ocean that stretches before you. However, the shimmering surface of the salty water still glitters beautifully, and the cold you feel in your bones and in the goosebumps on your skin reminds you that you are alive. What a beautiful thing to be.

I’ve uploaded a lot of pictures in my blog so far so I wanted to do this assignment with a video. The process wasn’t too hard because I had uploaded to YouTube before. After taking this clip on my phone I synced it to my computer, uploaded it to YouTube, then embedded it here in this blog post. Turn your volume up if you watch the video to hear the wind and the waves.

Assignment #2: Dear Mom, – (original assignment post)

*Sorry to everyone who is not my mom, this is sappy but its the assignment!


Thank you. Moms are people that give. They give so much. You gave me life, you gave life to the most important people in the world to me, Lilly and Nick. You gave your heart to dad, and made us a family. You made our house into a home every day. You gave me a friend for life in you. You gave me a safe place to land. You gave me a shoulder to cry on, a confidant, a support system. You gave us all the things that mean everything to me. You are irreplaceable. You are joyous. You are a light in this world. Your laugh demands the attention of a room. You understand me when it feels like I’m fighting things on my own. I know I will never be alone because of you, and the people you brought into your life and into this world. I’m sorry I don’t say things like this more often. Every day I know I am going to be okay because of you and our family. It is the only constant i’ll ever know in this life. You give so much each and every day, and it is recognized. Thank you.

This assignment was emotional but again as with the previous assignment, I feel like it is important to stop and take accountability of the things that really matter. Stop and smell the roses. Stop and tell the people you love that you love them. Remember to live. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the online world – what you don’t have, who you don’t look like, who has more followers – but in the end those things don’t matter like your mom does! To lighten this post up I will post a cute animal picture below:

but nonetheless! Take heed of my words (if you want).

Assignment #3: The Simplest Story Ever (ft. a nameless penguin)

(original assignment post)

This assignment was so silly but I liked that it included some collaboration with another person. It was honestly difficult to start off the story but once it was started things flowed better from that point. I called three different people before I finally found someone who was willing to write this little tale with me. Instead of doing it over email, I updated the assignment a bit by bringing it into iMessage. I started the story with a sentence about a penguin who lived in the North Pole, and then my fellow author and I exchanged sentences back and forth over text until we had our short story. This assignment was a nice change of pace because it included someone else in the creative process. It was very silly as I said before but ultimately I think that collaboration is a big part of this class. Communication amongst peers in this class especially contributes to #ourstory. Without communication, all of our posts and individual stories would be only our own, it would be your story instead of our collective. Whether it be direct communication with others through comments, or just reading each others’ posts, communication is one of the driving forces of the digital world. Collaboration happens every second online and it creates interaction between people who might live thousands of miles away. It can connect one person to millions and although this assignment is a small example of collaboration, it speaks to that larger role of communication within this class.

*Also, this is a literal example of digital storytelling! Telling a story through text ha

But Wait, There’s More!

***Don’t forgot to check out my Story Analysis Post from this week, linked here!***

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Until next time – over and out.

Digital Storytelling Uncategorized

Storytelling and The Universality of the Human Experience

*Although books are a fairly static medium, even they can evolve in small ways to accommodate the passage of time. Above, I included two pictures of the cover art for this book to demonstrate how that is possible. While the story remains the same, the cover art has been updated over the years to attract newer generations of readers.

In this story analysis post, I will be focusing primarily on the hypertext fiction article, I link, therefore I am, and the Kurt Vonnegut video on The Shape of Stories. This weeks assignment was probably my favorite we have had so far because there is so much to say about the topic and evolution of storytelling. The story I picked that was important to me is a book called Forever by Judy Blume. I’ve linked a summary to the book in the title, but it really doesn’t do it justice. Although this story may seem like a frivolous young adult novel to some, it is important to me nonetheless because it is relatable and a fairly universal experience that I personally resonate with. Those are important ingredients in getting audiences invested in a story, and it demonstrates the power of storytelling.

First I want to talk about this book in reference to The Shape of Stories video. This story, as is the case with many works of physical literature, has a linear progression. Vonnegut references the familiar linear structures of stories in his presentation, and how those stories are successful even when told over and over again because we as an audience have been conditioned to crave a certain type of resolution. He specifically highlights the fairytale Cinderella, and maps the curve of her story from the down-and-out female protagonist who eventually rises out of strife to end up with her prince charming. What happens though if Cinderella doesn’t get the happy ending we all hoped for? Now Disney knows that this storyline sells, so that won’t happen for Cinderella. However, the reality of the situation is that Cinderella is a fairytale for a reason. While Forever has a linear structure, it doesn’t follow the same path that Cinderella does in regards to the ending. There is a denouement because there has to be, but it isn’t the ending the audience hopes for. It gives them reality. It gives them the experience of shared pain, loss, and heartache. It gives them access to the manifestation of a universal human experience played out on ink and paper. Maybe that’s why fairytales appeal so greatly to us when we are kids, because we don’t know these realities yet. Successful stories, videos, movies, etc. are so because they share themes that impact people. The commonality of good stories in any medium is that they make their audience feel something. We all want validation. We want to know that our feelings are justified, and feel comfort when they are shared. We like these stories because we can see ourselves – our lives – within them. This book is timeless despite its medium. The ways in which stories can be told is certainly evolving, but just as the Cinderella storyline will be repeated, this type of story – one that evokes powerful emotions indicative of the human experience – will persevere even if it is formatted in a different way.

On the other hand, the hypertext fiction article made me think about this book in an entirely different way. Maybe the Cinderella storyline, while familiar and comforting, wasn’t really the best or only way to tell a story. When Forever ended with the two main characters going their separate ways, my first response was one of great sadness and unease as I was craving that “typical” happy ending. But is that storyline really typical at all? Instances of tragedy and loss are indicative of the human experience – everyone faces them in their lifetimes. The recognition of such sad realities has manifested itself in many successful stories, such as Forever, The Fault in Our Stars, and many others. In this way, Forever and other stories that don’t have the Cinderella storyline appear more honest and prescient in the way they tell a story. In these types of stories, there is an overwhelming lack of control, which inherently makes us uncomfortable. However, that very lack of control appears to be more authentic. Hypertext fiction capitalizes on this lack of structure in the way it presents stories in a fragmented manner. You as the reader or viewer experience the story jumping from place to place. Instead of passively following a linear narrative, the viewer is empowered to experience the story based on their choices or actions in a more interactive manner. Additionally, unlike when reading a book, readers are more likely to detour from the story with hyperlinks that add to overall experience of the text. This method seems to enhance storytelling in a way that makes it more accurate to what we experience in our lives. Interactive storytelling on digital platforms represents a way to tell stories that differs from the way it is done so through books. One can argue the merits of both mediums, but there seems to be a common thread in the reader/viewer wanting to see themselves within a story. However, while printed literature keeps the reader confined in a linear narrative, digital literature (specifically hypertext fiction) allows the reader to experience the story in a varying and more chaotic way, one that I feel more accurately represents how we live. Ultimately, hypertext fiction might even allow readers to take back some of the control they crave by putting them in the position to choose the way they experience a story.