by Paula Jayne White, Ph.D.
A few months ago, I received a video featuring a fictional conversation between Philadelphia Phillies greats Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth. Unlike most joke emails, this one made me stop and watch, despite my normal instinct to skip or delete. (Because of strong language, I don’t include the clip here, but interested adults can easily find it on YouTube.)
I knew instantly that I was hooked. The more videos like this that I found – with their lego-like characters and flat computer voices—the more I wanted to watch—no matter the content. This one, for example, gives new meaning to the concept of the home makeover show:
Even insurance giant Geico uses them in their ads:
The text-to-video technology enabling these videos, created by xtranormal.com, is simple—“if you know how to type, you can make movies!” Intriguing and fun, but not really a learning tool, right?
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by Jean Marie Tenlen
I have been thinking about an essay I read that I had originally heard about on NPR called “The Internet is Killing Storytelling” by Ben Macintyre. The essay was referenced by Tina Brown, who runs a news aggregate site called The Daily Beast. The essay argues that with the advent of the internet, we are losing the ability to attend to and create narratives. Macintyre argues that the internet is creating a reader who is only able to attend to a rapid and truncated style of communication – the ultra- soundbites of instant messages, Twitter, etc. Macintyre has a good turn of phrase, stating, “The internet has evolved a new species of ma gpie reader, gathering bright little buttons of knowledge, before hopping on to the next shiny thing.” I liked this metaphor because the process by which I found this essay was evocative of a person finding and passing along shiny bits: written by Ben, found by Tina, discussed by Steve Inskeep, and now I am handing it off to anyone who reads this essay.
“But stories demand time and concentration; the narrative does not simply transmit information, but invites the reader or listener to witness the unfolding of events,” says Ben. I think Ben is a little reactionary. I am guessing folks have been bemoaning the audience’s ability to attend to narrative every time a new form of storytelling emerges. I can imagine bards concernedly talking about the lack of their audience’s ability to attend to their song-stories with the advent of print, and the theatrical folk worrying about the infringement of movies, and the movie folks worrying about TV sit-coms, and so on.
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