Digital Storytelling: Is linear reading a thing of the past?
Reading and what it means to be “literate” is being redefined due to advancing technology that is putting electronic devices into the hands of readers. This has spurred discussion about the physiological effects of reading online and electronically versus opting for reading traditionally.
Some people are skeptical about adapting to new technologies when it comes to reading; others, are still more skeptical about having reading not evolve with the times. Read more about how content and media are affecting reading, and where GMM fits in in this ongoing debate.
How Content is Changing
Much of the concern is centered around content itself. As the mediums change, content is changing its form and shape – style guides for web writing point to brevity and simplicity of expression as being paramount. Images and video increase hits online. Links leading to and away from content expand the space of a single story, interlocking it with others to create a wider context – and potentially, a shorter attention span.
A potential shorter attention span makes many people wonder whether linear storytelling – and hence, traditional reading – is dead. What’s more, many people may think that linear stories are more conceivable in traditional (i.e. print) publishing forms, where pages are turned, one by one, with the information being reveled controlled by the creator. Readers simply sit back and become immersed.
E-reading, on the other hand, seems to be encouraging the creation of a different kind of story – which calls for a different kind of reading experience. Because consumers have become accustomed and anticipate more interactivity with electronic content, e-books seem to be evolving in such a way that retains in them some of the characteristics of online text (like hyperlinks, multimedia and audio, personalization, localization, and user-choice) so as to fulfill the expectations of today’s plugged-in consumers. E-books, of course, is still retaining some characteristics of traditional formats (think: e-ink and finite “pages”), but the story in itself may be changing as a result of technological features available.
However, there seems to be a consequence: The less static a text becomes, the less linear the story.
This however, may not be true. We may be on our way in producing an enhanced, interactive e-book that doesn’t take away the linear nature of storytelling and the immersive experience that goes along with reading it.