Storytelling, the backbone of so many world cultures (as well as Scripture), is alive and well thanks to new technology: the internet.
The internet, and more specifically Web 2.0 technologies, has opened up collaborative storytelling that is limited only by the number of collaborators. In Educause Review, Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine discuss how Web 2.0 technologies make it easy and accessible for nearly anyone to blog, comment, review, teach and learn together. The stories that are told are thus not linear beginning-middle-ending tales, but are rich, interactive spaces.
Often, the paths do not necessarily follow routes and destinations entirely generated by the story's creator. User-generated content is a key element of Web 2.0 and can often enter into these stories. A reader can add content into story platforms directly: editing a wiki page, commenting on a post, replying in a Twitter feed, posting a video response in YouTube. Those interactions fold into the experience of the overall story from the perspective of subsequent readers. Web 2.0 stories tend to be accretions over time, imbricated layers of content on top of an original core.
Users may take stories told by Hollywood film and re-imagine them, as the video below demonstrates.
Yet Web 2.0 does not simply lend itself to fun satire. For example, WeFeelFine.org searches the web for blog entries that state "I feelâ€¦", creating an evolving, fluid narrative of emotions. Deeply meaningful, passionate religious conversations take place on blogs that create stories that have immanent cultural relevance.
I imagine that there are more connections between Web 2.0 storytelling and oral storytelling than there are with the literary, linear storytelling that been dominant the last few centuries. A storyteller may begin a story with a particular focus, but the story evolves as others add their comments, their experiences, even just by laughing or crying at the story being told. Perhaps in some ways we are returning to a culture that has more in common with Biblical cultures than we may imagine.