engagement

The data in storytelling

This week I looked into how I can utilize data, interactive databases and data visualizations to make my digital storytelling blog better. In terms of using data, I struggled to find any numerical data that would describe digital storytelling or any specific numbers that note the significance of storytelling beyond a few research articles. So instead, I am going to experiment with the idea of how storytellers are using data in digital stories. I read a few interesting blog posts about how storytellers are not just including data in their stories, but exploring how the data about a topic can become the story. In addition, I am going to search out specific digital stories that use data as a large component of the story in order to see if my audience finds this type of story more interesting or engaging.

In terms of interactive databases, the field of digital storytelling actually has a lot to offer that I could utilize to reach more of my audience. I’ve already actually shared a few of these on my digital storytelling blog, such as the holocaust museum survivor database. A few resources I will use are Mashable, Econsultancy, and a Huffington Post media blog. Showcasing more of these interactive databases will help me enhance my topic blog because they are incredibly visual and can help attract more eyes to my blog. These more media-driven databases will enhance my blog more than visually. These types of databases are becoming more popular, which can assist me in gaining a bigger audience.

I did a lot of reading this week about data visualizations and digital storytelling. Most of the articles I read said to focus on context. This video gave great advice for how I could use data visualizations on my topic blog.

http://video.mit.edu/watch/data-visualization-in-digital-storytelling-the-map-is-key-5915/

Then I explored a project conducted by University of Colorado journalism students on digital storytelling. This project highlighted interactive infographics that are told in the form of a story. While showing these data visualizations may help enhance my blog, the idea of context is important to include as well. Thus, I’ll be using the interactive stories, as part of a post. The other part of a post will be a video digital story concerning the topic of the interactive web story. For example, for a interactive web story about Pakistan drone attacks and kills, I will supplement the post with a video digital about the same topic that is more personal in nature. This way I can enhance my blog though data visuals, while remaining true to the original concept of my blog.

Demo-my-graphics

Based on class readings, experience with social media and interest in digital storytelling, I have a good understanding of the social media demographics and motivations of my audience. The demographics of a digital storytelling blog are interesting and have a slight spilt. There are two groups that really share an interest in digital storytelling — high school and college students and academics. There is also a third emerging audience for digital storytelling and that is PR and marketing professionals. I know less about this audience, as it is less popular.  The list below explains these groups more specifically and notes their motivations.

High School and College Students:

  • Demographics: Between the ages of 15 – 28. Predominantly white, African American or Hispanic. Most have, will have, or are pursuing a college degree. According to Pew, there are equal numbers of this age group in urban, rural and suburban. From my own research and Pew data, there may be a slight difference in numbers for the rural students, which could be due to a digital divide issue.
  • Motivations: High school and college students are only lightly motivated to have an active interest in digital storytelling. These users are more passive because digital storytelling — whether they realize it or not — is a part of their daily life. These users are constantly online and bombarded with media images and videos. According to Pew, 97% of 18-29 year olds are online and about 90% use social media. Social media is a popular place for digital stories to appear, especially on YouTube. This part of my audience is more difficult to motivate to follow a blog, so a better strategy for this group is to seek students who are already familiars with the concept of digital storytelling, possibly through a class or workshop.

Academics:

  • Demographics: Age is difficult to pinpoint, but it is likely to be younger academics. These academics are from all over the country, although here again there are more likely less rural academics who are invested in this topic. For example, urban and suburban schools are already much more active in digital storytelling over rural schools. For example, the University of Southern California has a digital storytelling academy with backing and funding from different departments.
  • Motivations: Academics are obviously motivated to pursue digital storytelling because the topic originally emerged as an academic field. Numerous colleges have courses or events related to digital storytelling. In addition, it is becoming more important for professors to understand and to be able to use media, especially in fields related to the arts. Again, because digital storytelling is so immersed in society, academics have become motivated to understand digital storytelling in order to be able to teach the idea.

 

Strategic social media (Facebook)

Mainly my social media strategy this semester has centered on my blogs and Twitter, but this week I am going to outline my strategy for Facebook. Currently I use Facebook daily, both personally and professionally. Personally, I rarely post status updates unless I have something of actual interest that can be posted. I’m not the type to post a picture of my meal or to post selfies. I more consistently use it to get updates from other people or organizations/companies. Professionally, I am the administrator of a public library Facebook page. I post daily, if not more than once a day. The library has over 1,000 followers and with our multitude of programs and events, there is always something that needs to be sent out to the audience.

Since I’m more focused on Twitter and my blogs since I think they can do more for my personal brand and for my interest in digital storytelling, my strategy for Facebook is going to be fairly simple. First, I am going to seek out groups/pages that relate to digital storytelling. Specifically I am going to look for groups that I couldn’t locate on Twitter. In addition, I will be posting status updates more frequently and in relation to posts on my digital storytelling blog. This is important because when I release my survey for my thesis I am using social media as a way to get the word out. Posting more frequently now will help  me gain more survey participants down the line.