When is a Digital Story Not a Digital Story? – A Response to Required Reading

*This post is part of a continuing series of responses to assigned readings for Learning with Digital Stories, a master level course I am enrolled in at UC Denver.

pirate wave


I have been enjoying reading the Lankshear and Knobel text but I am a proponent of a wide perspective on a topic that I am studying, and so I welcome the opportunity to look at the definition or musings of others around the concept of digital storytelling.  I skimmed the introductory chapters for both Digital Storytelling and The New Digital Storytelling, both seemed interesting, but in my survey of digital comics I have been struggling with finding the difference between a printed comic that has been delivered digitally and a true digital comic. The New Digital Storytelling chapter Storytelling for the 21st Century provided more substance to help me in my clarification between digitized comics (traditional comics that are delivered digitally) and true digital comics, and so I decided to focus my responce on this chapter.

The most important concept that Alexander introduced, for me, was a question to ask in order to determine if a digitally delivered story is a genuine digital story. Alexander’s question was; “How does being digital enable new aspects of storytelling?” (14).  For my critique of digital stories this week I reviewed a technology created to enhance the reading experience for traditional print comic that have been scanned into a digital environment. This technology changed the reading experience, in both positive and negative ways, but to determine if it created a digital story I must decide if  the storytelling has been fundamentally altered by the digital environment. Looking at the technology and asking Alexander’s question I have determined that it did not transform those print comics into digital stories. The storytelling still followed the flow and structure that was created for the medium of printed paper and was still bound by the limitations of printed paper, an analog story rendered in a digital format.

One buzzword from the chapter that grabbed my attention was cybercultural matrix. It was introduced near the end of the chapter and Alexander indicated that the term would be defined in chaper 2. I hope that I have the opportunity to read chapter 2 for more information about the cybercultural matrix, but it does seem to be self explanatory.  For me, this term seems to refer to the thousands or even millions of niche communities that are generated by the intersection of  the multitude of technological options for communication and the vast number of cultural communities using those technologies to sharing ideas or stories.  People are blogging about every culturally significant topic that exists today and each of those blogospheres are niches in the cybercultural matrix. As are the niche communities of Star Wars fanatics, who each share their love of the Star Wars universe employing different digital mediums, such as self publishing fan fiction, creating Han Solo memes, or producing stop-motion Stormtrooper videos for YouTube. The cybercultural matrix is an great concept to help wrap one’s mind around the vast number of digital stories being told. Furthermore, The Cybercultural Matrix would be an awesome name for a punk rock band.

When is a Digital Story Not a Digital Story? – A Response to Required Reading

3 thoughts on “When is a Digital Story Not a Digital Story? – A Response to Required Reading

  1. loganpriess says:

    Great discussion of digitally-mediated stories versus truly “digital stories.” Awesome to finally have a definition there! There have to be graphic novels that are using digital mediums in really surprising new ways–I hope you find some more cool ones to share! And yes, that’s a great band name.


  2. Although I read your entire post, I REALLY appreciate the introductory title, sub-heading and your first paragraph. It’s like you are right there in a relaxed interview discussing what you yourself have written, and the interviewer allowed you to speak. Nice. Thanks for your comment on my undertaking with my 5th week critique. In any storm I’d help to the last…including Mr. Lambert. 😉


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