Posted by: JenLuecht | November 6, 2014

A Swift Recovery: Storytelling by Means of…

This week we read a lot about the effects of having a “juggler’s brain,” an addiction to fast-paced constantly changing content, and an anxiety about being continually connected and involved with social groups via media. We live in a world where technology exists and where we must constantly adapt to survive. But is it really just survival? Doesn’t the widening of the way stories are told also allow for more creative storytelling?

The Shallows describes that in 2000, Japanese women began composing stories on their mobile phones and uploading them to a website. The stories were soon read and commented on, quickly becoming serialized “cell phone novels” and eventually printed books (Carr, 104). Not only were these changes in reading style, new stories were being told. A perfect example of how we can adapt our storytelling to open new channels of communication, thus affecting how the message is received.

While navigating a long-standing battle with iTunes and in the midst of a tricky PR situation, Spotify recently posted an entertaining response to Taylor Swift, after the singer decided to remove her music from the popular app.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.12.45 PM

Their sadness is told (very appropriately) through the songs themselves. This unique response not only incorporates what Spotify should know best – music – it sings a sincere tune to Swift on behalf of the company, in a honest and transparent voice.

Humans are adaptive and creative – we are movers and shakers. Why leave things the way they have always been? Push the envelope.


  1. I appreciate what you’re saying here, but I don’t think Carr’s concern about “juggler’s brain” is intended to refer to any one media creation. I think he’s talking more about cognitive overload, the experience of multiple types of media at once.

    Here’s how he defined cognitive overload in “The Shallows”: “When the load exceeds our mind’s ability to store and process the information – when the water overflows the thimble – we’re unable to retain the information or to draw connections with the information already stored on our long-term memory.” (125) This is a problem when you’re trying to impart information. But it’s not a problem when you’re merely entertaining – and in fact, we have been seeking out cognitive overload at amusement parks, raves and nightclubs even while the personal computer has given way to the smartphone.

    Of course, those sources of cognitive overload also face criticism. For example:

    I wonder if there is a correlation between the rise in autism diagnoses and the increasing prevalence of overloading stimuli.

  2. Thanks jstrieder for the insightful response, I totally agree!

    I will throw right-back-at-you the following questions:

    Aren’t these newer forms of storytelling intricately intertwined with the state of media today, and therefore inseparable from cognitive overload? Can we not have one without the other?

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