My Beef with Digital Storytelling

My Beef with Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling has exploded in recent years. The practice is ancient—people sharing their personal stories with the world. But this form is storytelling is new. Very new. Our lives are truly better for it. But there’s a dark side. In this essay I reflect on what happens when storytelling wants to stop.

Now more than ever, the story of our lives can live on in many forms. Digital storytelling has given us greater access to diverse voices, opinions, perspectives and frankly more access to more people in general.

It seems the world has become a lot smaller since digital storytelling has emerged. Barriers are breaking down and our understanding of the people around us is deepening.

But my beef with digital storytelling is this: what happens when you don’t want to be online anymore or you want to take a break from the Internet?

The Internet is a beast that survives on a heavy flow of new information. To make it on the ‘interwebs’ you have to continuously pump stuff out. You have to be consistent; you have to be present in order to be heard. 

It makes sense. I don’t have an issue with that.

But my issue is that when you want to take a break there is so much pressure around “the break.” Or if you’re like me, sometimes you inadvertently take breaks, but when you want to jump back in, there is this guilt around that.

You’re afraid people won’t remember who you are.

You’ve been gone for what seems like forever. If my grandparents were alive they would think this is obnoxious. No grand public appearance for a week or a month during their time was perfectly normal.

Yet in the age of digital story telling that’s a long time to disappear.

Or is it? Does it even matter?

What matters more than ever is our mental health. Our minds need a break from all the scrolling, all the swiping, and all the flat lays (although I love me a good flat lay.)

I have noticed an increase in awareness around taking digital breaks, fasts or detoxes. People are going on silent retreats because we’re just too stressed out and mentally exhausted as a result of so much ‘Interneting.’

Consistency of messaging for brand building is critical, but as creators it’s even more important that we take a step back every now and then to recharge, recalibrate, and to reset our minds. For the sake of our long-term health.