The art of digital storytelling is still a relatively new practice. Therefore, it appears the definition of a digital story can be as varied and flexible as the medium itself. The University of Houston website defines digital storytelling as the “practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories.” This very basic definition leaves itself open for the many different examples that fit into the category of a digital story. Visual imagery is usually a main component of a digital story, and fittingly, one of the best ways to define a digital story is to begin by watching examples of digital stories that have been made by others. Most examples contain a combination of images, text, and music or voice-over narration. Depending on the complexity of the story, it may also incorporate sound and/or video clips.
In many ways, digital storytelling is very similar to traditional storytelling. It is usually based on a specific point of view, and focuses on a particular theme or topic. However, unlike traditional storytelling in the format of a published book, digital storytelling can be done by a novice and still reach a wide audience anywhere in the world. Essentially all that is needed is an audience with internet access. The digital story can be retold for the duration that it is accessible in a consistent format. This means that people can tell any story which is of interest to them. Perhaps it is a personal narrative, a memoriam, an educational piece, amateur video of an important event, or an opinion piece on a broader topic affecting the local or global community. Digital storytelling provides a platform for personal expression that is possible for any person living in almost any place which melds with today’s practice of multi-sensory communication and advanced technology. It is my assumption that we will continue to see the medium evolve and refine as technology becomes more advanced.