Emerging Content for Digital Storytelling: Response

For this response piece, I choose a blog post from the Ceros website. Ceros is a digital content creation website that hosts tools for design much like Adobe. Ashley Anderson wrote up an article that seemed interesting to me, titled 4 Emerging Interactive Content Types for Digital Storytelling. While much of the article was pandering to people who they wanted to use their services, it actually explored a lot of interesting content types.

” I’m a passionate believer in the power of interactivity to deliver stories in a unique, immersive, and engaging way for today’s distracted content consumer.” (Anderson 2016)

The Four types she lists are Videos, Games, Branching Narratives, and Sophisticated Microsites.

In the Interactive Videos section, she talks about a few types of videos that you are able to click through and the content of the video changes depending on what you clicked. It allows for you to have a tailored experience, while still engaging in whatever the subject matter is. The example linked was a Nike video titled Lidyana, which was also a good example of a Microsite. Customizing things like ad experiences is an interesting premise that would perhaps entice me to actually bother to watch ads instead of using adblock on 90% of the internet. It’s a form of engagement and unique customization that attracts attention.

Anderson’s Interactive Games section featured an interesting card matching game that brought people to specific sections of the website depending on the cards that they matched. The gamification of our world I believe works really well. I have an app on my phone that gamifies my everyday life into what is basically an rpg. The app is Habitica.  It allows you to create daily tasks, to do lists, and habits that gain you experience points, which you then use to level up ‘You’. Simple gamification can be a very intense tool that helps use competition and fun to your advantage in any setting, whether it’s in your daily life or in a classroom.

The next section is the idea of Branching Narratives. Anderson’s example was a microsite that allowed the user to experience the grand narrative about Microsoft’s Project Spark video game. Unfortunately, as Microsoft axed the game a few months ago, the site no longer works. Project Spark was an interesting ‘video game’ as it were. It allowed for users to create narratives and elements to build an actual game that could then be shared with the Project Spark community. They gave a library of assets to use and allowed for a lot of freedom for the game being on both Xbox One and PC. Though the game didn’t survive very long, branching narrative games are some of the most popular games on the market with titles such as Skyrim, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age. Creating a story where the player feels as though they are influencing the world is just such a leap forward. It’s a choose your own adventure book to the highest degree and it is certainly successful in not only capturing attention, but making people feel connected to the story. Everyone has a different experience with it, and it makes it all the better to come in and talk to other people about what happened during their playthroughs. It also sparks the imagination and creativity of the community, as these types of games tend to have a larger fanfiction database within them as well.

The last section was nearly covered in the rest of the article, Microsites. These websites are a tiny independent pieces of a larger website.

“A microsite is a great way to create a standalone, themed experience to educate your audience. It also gives you more design freedom, as it doesn’t have to reflect the look and feel of your main web properties” (Anderson 2016)

Microsites are an interesting design tool that I would like to see more teachers use. A lot of educators know how to use a Google Site to compile all of their classes into one bunch, but being able to expand that a bit and create more microsites for classes would be a very interesting challenge. Having smaller, independent sites that are interactive and customizable to the subject matter would perhaps make it easier to filter through information and a lot more fun for the students to look at than just a few documents on a Google Site.

Overall, the article was a bit slim, but the information was there. The use of examples had a lot less to do with storytelling, than it did with product placement. Regardless, the four content types were a good list that could easily be expanded upon and looked at more deeply.

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