Presentation: Telling Meaningful Personal Stories in the Age of Status Updates

A presentation made on 2/5/15 to Alex Naylor’s “The Power of the Image” class at DePaul University…

1. What is Digital Storytelling?

  • Community arts process invented in the Bay Area of CA in the 1990s
  • Prototypical form = 3-day workshop, run by a trained digital storytelling facilitator or facilitators, in which a small group of ordinary people come together to write, workshop, and learn media production practices. Each participant leaves the workshop having completed their own digital story.
  • Digital story = 2-3 minute video, which consists of a self-written and self-narrated personal story, illustrated with images from the storyteller’s personal archives. The storyteller makes the video him/herself, with the support and assistance of others in the workshop.

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Not Social Media, Social Action

Last week, I visited Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, for “Not Social Media, Social Action,” a presentation event hosted by the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program. The event featured the Chief Marketing Officer of, a well-funded, international nonprofit with a mission to “fight the absurdity of extreme poverty,” presenting in tandem with a representative of a team of IMC students. The IMC team had completed a class project with ONE, the task of which was to design ways to push those already engaged in low-level social media engagement with ONE toward more meaningful participation in the organization’s social change efforts. Continue reading

How I Work

I only read People magazine at my dentist’s office, but flipping through its pages, taking in the photos of celebrities walking their kids to school and toting around their Whole Foods bags, gives me a feeling that’s got something in common with that I get when I read Lifehacker’s How I Work series. Pleased by the glimpse, curious to see the minutiae.

How I work—and by that I mean reading and writing in preparation to teach and publish—has changed a good bit in the last few years. Continue reading

Reading: Computers as Theatre

Laurel, Brenda (1993). Computers as Theatre. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

At the recent iDMAA 2012 conference, I asked many of the faculty that I met for their recommended readings on the subject of interactivity, in anticipation of my 2013 Interactivity course. Brenda Laurel’s book kept coming up, and a few spoke of it with great reverence. After reading the book, I can see why for some—especially early generation digital designers—the book was so inspirational: it offered what for its time was probably one of the most fully formed humanistic approaches to computers, what Laurel herself calls a “new place to stand when considering the design of human-computer activity” (p. xxi). Continue reading

Reading: Orality and Literacy

Ong, Walter (2002). Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, 2nd ed. London & New York: Routledge.

I first read Ong’s book back in graduate school, in Charlie Moran’s “Writing and Emergent Technologies” course (in 2004!). Ong wasn’t on the syllabus, but rather on a list of books from which we were to choose one to review. I can’t remember why I selected Ong, but I do remember my response to the book: I liked it. Ong’s claims about the differences between oral and print consciousness and culture were a bit of a revelation. Continue reading

Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science

On Sunday, 11/20/12, I spent most of the day at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science. This is an annual event in Chicago, and I was glad to attend for the first time. I teach primarily new media studies, and do so from my disciplinary perspective of writing and rhetoric. This puts my work in some relationship to the digital humanities (DH), though the exact nature of that relationship is difficult to determine. Continue reading

International Digital Media Arts Association

A few years back, I traveled to Concordia University in Montreal for a really terrific symposium, Database, Narrative, Archive. D>N>A was small, interdisciplinary, and participatory. There was a performance of High Rise at a bar and workshops on Korsakow and Scalar. A few of the academics at D>N>A recommended the conference of iDMAa, the International Digital Media and Arts Association, as similarly intimate, interdisciplinary, and stimulating. I just returned to Chicago from iDMAa 2012: here’s the debrief. Continue reading

Digital Ethics Symposium

On Monday, 10/29/12, Loyola University’s Center for Digital Ethics and Policy held its second International Digital Ethics Symposium in Chicago. This was the same day that Superstorm Sandy hit, but quite a few intrepid speakers made the journey regardless. I took the Purple Line south and spent the day listening to a range of really interesting talks. Continue reading