A Whole New World with Interactive Narratives
We live in a renaissance of storytelling. From the current Golden Age of Television to podcasts, and Snap Chat, technology has truly changed how we craft, tell, distribute, access, and experience stories. So, it should come as no surprise that major media organizations, including the New York Times, BuzzFeed and Vice News, are investing heavily in interactive storytelling—with the former producing countless interactive pieces in 2015 alone.
But then again, no one reads anymore, right? Wrong!
In reality, long-form (or long-read) content—non-fiction, investigative, and documentary—is on the rise, so much so that Facebook recently tweaked their feed algorithm to account for how long users spend reading articles across all topics and lengths. Meaning, Facebook is well aware that users are increasingly craving engaging content over banal clickbait and the ubiquitous listicle.
In “Dear Architects: Sound Matters” by Michael Kimmelman, the story features a series of looped videos—that play ambient sounds when hovered over—depicting various public environments. As the story deals with the subject matter of sound design, it makes perfect sense that this story was a great candidate for interactive storytelling. Because outside of the most skilled writers who immerse readers in almost-tangible worlds, technology conveys what cannot always be told through words. What better than to hear the sound that is being described?
Technology always changes the way we tell and experience stories. The Gutenberg press changed the face printing as we know. In the Victorian era, novels were bound out of folded pages, which required readers to use paper knives to release every other page of the book (one simply could not read ahead without doing so). And today, people now have the choice to read physical books or digital copies on their Kindles and Nooks.
But what hasn’t changed is that humans love to tell stories and love to devour them.