Storytelling is hot right now. As the web has grown and become more and more personalised, storytelling on the web has also transcended its traditional roots into a much more interactive experience. A number of social platforms and digital tools have cropped up which aim to become the campfire of self expression. Status updates? That’s so last season.
Released by Johannes Wagener and Katharina Birkenbach during the music hack day boston in 2011 Story wheel is a great example of what opening up your platform to hackers can do. Recognising the somewhat illustrative and situational nature of its users content, Storywheel combines hipster photos from Instagram with sound to create a unique storytelling experience. Little subtle touches such as the Kodak moment sound between slides perfectly help to set the tone of the story being told.
The team have leveraged the power of the Soundcloud API to provide voice recording facilities, and this mashed up with photos shared from Instagram produces a show and tell slideshow with voiceover which perfectly compliments their existing offering. The SoundCloud team have also created a story wheel to tell the story of their growth – its an entertaining introduction to how StoryWheel can be leveraged to produce beautiful yet compact storytelling experiences.
HipGeo is a social mobile application which allows you to tell stories which are intrinsically linked with particular locations. It’s of particular merit for anyone who loves travel, as it automatically organises your photos, comments and places, and lets you search and follow the adventures of other travellers.
The web interface presents a way to find the most popular and most viewed trips from its users, in a fluid and easily understood way, and you can simply sit back and watch the popular routes travelled by others. The majority of trips plotted within HipGeo focus a combination of no fuss mobile photography accompanied with minimalist text, providing an engaging and distinctive way to tell the story of your recent trip to others.
According to their mission statement – Cowbird is a small community of storytellers, focused on a deeper, longer-lasting, more personal kind of storytelling than you’re likely to find anywhere else on the Web. Brainchild of Jonathan Harris – no stranger to digital storytelling projects (Harris has previous created ‘We feel fine‘ an online art piece which showcased emotion by tapping into blog mentions) Cowbird attempts to enfuse some of that emotion and depth into the narrative, and in my opinion – succeeds.
Where social media platforms tend to take a 10,000 foot view of the world in quick fire bursts, Cowbird brings depth back to the web. Recent events such as the Occupy saga have been captured in both a preserved and human way on Cowbird, and the visual yet simplistic experience that it provides will be sure to attract the everyday man and encourage them to tell extraordinary stories.