Digital Storytelling: the good, the bad and the ugly

Digital Storytelling was the topic of our multimedia lecture this Monday.


How perfect and relevant is that topic!?


A lot of my other posts support my enthusiasm for “telling your story” but this time I will focus on the more digital aspect of it. Digital storytelling is a way to narrate your story via various digital outlets such as film, animations, still photos, audio, blogs, and whatever else that can help you present information to an audience. Traditional “Storytelling” is more of a lost art, however, there is always a good opportunity for a comeback! This new trend is spreading worldwide and there is a ton of opportunity in it, especially in agriculture.


I was discussing with a friend yesterday about the importance of communication in the agriculture industry. It is insane how many agriculturalists, farmers, ranchers and industry professionals have blogs, twitters and Youtube accounts that provide great information for the public. However, these media outlets often don’t reach the right audiences and are left to slip through the cracks. Trust me, after all the part work we put into these media pieces, even after a long day on the farm and at work–these need to be shared and seen by the correct audience! They MUST, or else it is a waste of time and energy. Seems like the only digital storytelling that makes headlines is something criticizing the industry or some new research that puts us down. It’s time to change that. Plus, there always seems to be a larger audience of the critic side because they are all familiar with how to use these technologies to produce high quality media. How will our farmers and ranchers find time on top of all they do to learn a whole video editing software? It’s just not feasible.


However, I feel like it is more genuine if it isn’t professionally done. Now, I’m all about and for creative, well produced media–but it’s more believable from a consumer standpoint if it’s not over exaggerated. Then, it seems like we have hidden agendas.


The easiest way to do this is through making a iPhone video showing what you’re doing to take care of your animals or how you’re practicing good waste management! Those are just some examples. The main reason we want to share this information is because we want to share the correct way we do things, hopefully eliminating misconceptions. If we put a face to our local farms and ranches, it’s more believable to the consumer what they are actually getting at the store!


It’s all about clarity and transparency while communicating to the audience. These aren’t the easiest things to do, but if we tell the truth people will learn to understand why we do certain things. That we don’t use certain practices for selfish reasons, that we do certain things because it is best for the animals or crops. This is good storytelling!


In lieu of good storytelling, there are many more bad storytellers in existence than good ones. Here is an example of bad storytelling, which is a spin off of the Dodge Ram Super Bowl commercial. It just puts a bad taste in my mouth. Not only is it bad storytelling but it is also biased and ugly to watch.

Obviously, people should fact check before they put out information that isn’t true. I am not saying the video is a complete lie, but through our personal storytelling we can help provide confidence in our industry and eliminate these misconceptions.




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