Scanning the latest apps in the App Store over the weekend, I came across this statement:
Today’s storytelling involves a mishmash of apps, websites, blog tools, and technologies. Perspective simplifies all this by combining the essential elements of storytelling into a single iPad App.
It case that wasn’t clear, the statement came from a product description for Perspective, an iPad app that bills itself as a platform for audiovisual storytelling.
I find this interesting for a couple of reasons.
1) Apparently it’s not enough to present a narrative of information and data with just one tool. You need an amalgamation of data visualization tools and information/data interfaces to get your story told right. On the other hand, if you don’t want the hassle of learning how to use the mishmash of tools necessary for today’s storytelling, you can get an app that let’s you use just a one tool.
2) There’s more to your narrative than what the data can describe. Today’s storytelling isn’t about generalizability – it’s about the context in which it takes place, the way the action unfolds, and they way that action is conveyed to an audience. A mishmash of apps that introduce multiple visual and structural perspectives to the audience could be quite powerful – or it could obscure the strengths and weaknesses of certain narratives in favor of one busy impression of “story”.
There is a passive/aggressive feel to all of this. You need a story but no one is going to pay attention to it unless you jazz it up. I supposed the above statement is true – in the battle for eyeballs, you and your story need all the umph you can get. Isn’t interesting, though, that despite of our unparalleled access to information – rich, multi-layered mountains of information – it’s still the audience that gets the final word.