This question is very difficult to answer because there is not a consensus as to what, exactly, would make up an “official” definition of digital storytelling. Some practitioners hold to a strict definition, limiting digital stories to 250 words, two minutes, and a dozen images. Others have very broad ideas of digital storytelling, using the term to refer to any relatively short digital presentation which in some way seeks to entertain, inform, educate, or promote a cause.
However, most people and organizations seem to define digital storytelling as conveying an event, idea, or personal history in a narrative, multi-media manner through video. This can be done either with historic events and people, or modern ideas and occurances. However, regardless subject matter, digital stories almost always have emotional components and seek to establish a personal connection between the creator and the audience.
These digital stories are usually short and their main component is a narrative script spoken as a voice-over for the video, usually by the story’s creator. This narration is combined with a variety of media to add richness to the story: photographs, still images, animation, background music, interviews, film clips, etc. In many ways digital storytelling is merely an evolution of oral storytelling, because we are not changing the traditional storytelling process, just adding additional visual and auditory elements to it.
The idea behind most digital storytelling projects is for anyone to be able to participate, even if they do not have a background in narrative writing or technology. The main point is for people to be able to tell their personal stories, making a compelling, emotional component such a strong part of a digital story. Because of this, they are typically made to instruct, persuade, reflect, or provide history from the perspective of one individual’s voice.