This week’s assignment, Telling Stories in New Media, showed how by utilizing the many tools available online, cohesive stories are created and disseminated amongst wider populations. In the “Welcome to Pine Point” project, the creator notes that though they had originally planned a book they found that a website “…was unpretentious, honest, and represented a sentiment and perspective that we felt needed sharing. It could have been a book, but it probably makes more sense that it became this.” In all three projects we see how by telling stories in new media, they give voices to those who would perhaps go voiceless. If there was a book written about Pine Point, how many would buy it? An article about an avalanche is one thing, but hearing the stories from survivors and the families of victims, seeing the mountain and understanding the power of an avalanche via graphics is another. As for the “Invisible Australians” project, how many people know the important role of immigrants? By giving these people faces and voices, digital media allows their stories to have greater depth and meaning to the audience.
One website that I discovered that was similar to the Pine Point story is the Hollow Documentary, an interactive web documentary about a county in West Virginia and its history and the uncertainty of its future. It’s different than Pine Point in that the town has not disappeared and so it is less a history of the town and more an introduction to the current conditions of the town’s residents. It serves as an example of how these web documentaries are much more engaging than the typical documentary, where instead of having images thrown at you, you become an active participant in how the story is told. What these projects all have in common is that they redefine the meanings of a space and place. By giving voices and faces to those who experienced a place, it no longer becomes a location on a map (or one that has been wiped off a map). These stories show that by letting go of the linear narrative of history by using new media, a much richer and meaningful experience is created for the audience.