Throughout history, storytelling has been one of the main ways people have passed on their cultural heritage. Today, people use screens for communication and entertainment, but newspapers, blogs, and books allow for an easy way to share important stories with the world. In more recent history, Twitter and other social media have allowed people to stay connected and informed of breaking news events as they happen. Although writing has changed as much as technology, new research shows that aspects of oral storytelling are still highly valued today. This is evident in the way that people listen to stories and retain information about them, even when they are reading the text aloud or in a quiet moment.
Scarcity Of Time
In 2019, the world experienced the longest government shutdown in history. The impact was significant, as people were denied access to many services and businesses, as well as government-run parks and museums. In the aftermath, people were inspired to volunteer, contributing over 16 million hours of services to restore the national parks and monuments to their former glory. While this may seem like a unique incident, 2019 was also the year of the wildfires in California, leading to a 20% drop in air quality and killing thousands of creatures, including people. In times of crisis, people often turn to stories to give them the sense of hope that things will get better. During these hard times, stories helped people get through a very dark period. In the aftermath of the pandemic, people are inspired to tell and listen to stories about their experiences as a way to better understand and move forward.
Value Of A Good Story
Stories have always been popular because they allow for a certain type of entertainment and education. It would be an understatement to say that stories can teach us something. Depending on how good the story is, it can instill a sense of awe, thrill, wonder, empathy, or even just provide amusement. Good storytelling does not only allow the audience to learn about the subject matter, but also to identify with, or better understand, the characters within the story. The ability to draw on one’s imagination, identify with the characters, and participate in their adventures is what makes stories so valuable.
The Persistence Of Memory
How many times have you been told that you should write everything down? Never forget a lesson? It seems like common advice these days, and for good reason. With the world going digital, printed books and newspapers are becoming less commonplace. This presents a unique problem for people who want to remember important dates, events, or stories. To ensure that these details are not forgotten, people use a variety of methods to ensure they are not. These include making notes, setting aside time daily to review events, and relying on families and friends to remind them of crucial information. The problem is that sometimes these methods are not enough. If you don’t have the details stored somewhere, you will have to either ask someone for help or hope that your memory will serve you well enough.
The Healing Power Of Stories
Stories have the unique ability to evoke powerful and sometimes instantaneous emotional responses in listeners. The trigger could be anything from a tragic event to an absurd comedy, but the point is that we can all relate to stories because they allow us to identify with or better understand the characters and their situations. The sharing of these stories allows for a form of catharsis, providing an outlet for emotions that might not otherwise be expressed. The fact that they can evoke such strong responses makes them a valuable tool in counseling, therapy, and even just casual conversations.
While written correspondence and visual depictions of stories have been around for as long as humans have had the ability to conceptualize language and images, it was not until the 20th century that oral storytelling found its way into everyday life. Thanks in part to the influence of radio and television, which provided platforms for people to share their stories and created a cultural shift towards entertainment over education, people now seek out oral storytelling more than ever before. According to the 2018 VOTER Report Card, 33.9% of American adults say they’ve listened to an audio book in the past month, compared to 28.5% who’ve viewed a digital image of one, and 20.6% who’ve read a printed book. While printed books may still enjoy the most widespread audience, the use of audio books and digital images for story-related purposes is becoming more commonplace.
This trend may be linked to the changing ways in which people access and consume information. Thanks to advancements in technology, the ability to disseminate information has exploded, allowing for access to a wealth of sources and viewpoints, as well as making previously inaccessible subject matter available. In an effort to keep up with the information bombardment, many people are turning to audio books and digital illustrations because they allow for quick and easy reference, as well as flexibility in terms of where and when they can be accessed.