The Future of Storytelling

Chris Brogan’s series of posts on the future of media, work, marketplaces and community got me thinking about the future of storytelling. Something we are thinking about a lot in the Quo Vadis Think Tank (more on that later).

The future of storytelling is non-linear (sadly, as far as I’m concerned), media centric and for that reason flexible, I would venture to guess also more fragmented and modular. Storytelling will be increasingly interactive, in cases even crowd-sourced, free and digital. Copyright will get a run for its money and need to reinvent itself… I also think the message of the story will become more important.

The message has always been the core for documentaries; and maybe I’m co-mingling message with truth. As documentaries will have to adapt to non-linear, media centric, flexible, interactive and free – how does that change the story? Is the story the message and the medium?

Which brings us to Marshall McLuhan: “The Medium is the Message”. McLuhan says that societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the medium by which people communicate than by the content of the communication. To which I would add: there are about three (maybe five, ok, no more than ten) original plot lines in the world, any other narrative is a derivative or embellishment thereof.

Where IS the message today? Where IS the story? What story does the medium itself give us and how will it shape us into the future? How will Romeo and Juliet, Pygmalion and the Iliad come to us? IS the internet the medium or the meta-medium ultimately?

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