FMS85C Week 4: Creating Narratives in Self-Representation

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The discovery of digital storytelling has immensely changed the way in which Internet-savvy intellectuals communicate, function, and interact. As ancestors of past decades were able to pass stories about themselves through oral tradition, we in the media-age have transformed oral tradition and brought it into the highly publicized commercial age, bringing readings, experiences, and stories closer to you, right at home.

An individual can create their own narrative through the culmination of specific moments in one’s life. Whether it be a blog post, a journal entry, a candid video, or a photograph, the art of storytelling and self-representation is apparent in these new digital medium. As Nancy Thumim writes in the chapter entitled, “‘It’s good for them to know my story:’ Cultural mediation as tension” in Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Stories: Self-representations in New Media, people have “the pleasure of hearing from people around the globe who saw and related to their digital story … the ability to imagine audiences of the future rests on the (familiar) assumption that the promise of digital technology is that these self-representations will be ‘there’ forever—it seems then that participants want a representation of themselves to be ‘there’ forever.”

Most people present themselves in a way to keep tab on the moments in his/her life. Self-representation in the new media has allowed others to almost become a part of one’s experience, as videos visually take you through an event, photographs capture moments, and words inform a reader. But, whether its use is to reach millions or to just stay as a personal memento is up to the individual. As Thumim writes of “people around the globe who saw and related to their digital story,” digital storytelling, in a way, mass-connects people of similar interests, minds, and social circles, allowing them to almost create a support system for themselves. As we as humans naturally yearn for gossip, entertainment, and stories, finding these raw media personally published by other individuals in the world makes us feel connected to our worlds on the grander scale. But, on the contrary, its private use to create almost an online timeline/family album is also just as gratifying. As Thumim continues, “Self-representation … provided an opportunity to make something whose important purpose was private—viewed in this light self-representation is not about connecting with others.” Sometimes, there is a simple joy in making concrete one’s own life in hopes that it may touch another, whoever may find your story, or that it will remain a simple reminder of the moments in your life, to keep you motivated to live, count the blessings, and going. Representing yourself, whether in new media or not, actively engages you in the moments in your life, whereas to capture them, which makes each moment a blessing and lesson for the future. The promise of being ‘there’ forever is all on you, but digital storytelling has made it easier for us to both connect and to preserve moments—for you or for me.

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