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16 Pros and Cons of Digital Storytelling

Stories help to define who we are as individuals. Each of us has something unique to share with the world. Before the invention of online resources, we would share these tales with one another by printing books, illustrating pages, or having a conversation with someone. Through this process, we could share the knowledge that we obtained with others as a way to make the diversity of humanity shine.

Digital storytelling at its core follows this same process with one exception: it is the practice of using computer-based tools to accomplish the same task. You will find numerous examples of this method available today, from interactive stories to electronic memoirs, but their purpose is uniquely the same. It tells a story using audio, video, graphics, and web publishing tools as a way to share information with others.

Most digital stories will focus on a specific point of view or a particular topic. Then it will offer an educational experience to the viewer that can last for up to 10 minutes in most circumstances. It is a way to discuss historical events, discuss the lessons of life, or teach reading and writing concepts to children. The first stories of this type began appearing in the early 1990s as a way to help people learn new concepts.

These are the pros and cons of digital storytelling to consider if you want to add this resource to your classroom, workplace, or home.

List of the Pros of Digital Storytelling

1. Stories are a way to build trust.

Whether you are using your digital storytelling skills as a way to build trust in students, clients, or as a way to entertain someone, it provides you with an opportunity to build trust. Students see it as an entertaining experience instead of a boring educational opportunity. Clients see a good story as a way to connect instead of having you push your products on them in a selfish way. Digital storytelling offers a chance to open a conversation with someone that can help you to communicate concerns, share insights, and eventually become a leader at what you do.

2. It can be a way to improve your search engine rankings.

Google has consistently placed value above any other attribute when deciding which websites should rank the highest for any given search. When you design your content around the principles of digital storytelling, then you will naturally create the relevant keywords in your text without worrying about issues of density or format. You’re creating something that your visitors will want to read because it is engaging and interesting. That can eventually help you to build higher conversion rates into your site.

3. Good stories always have legs.

You know that a story was good when other people want to start sharing it with others. When we use digital storytelling to get a point across, then an act as simple as clicking the “share” button on social media can help to make that happen. When your tale has legs, then it becomes an ambassador for what you want to represent. It could be a brand, an educational concept, or a message that you think is important for other people to hear. You can then cross-promote this content across in-person events, webinars, newsletters, and every other outreach effort you have right now.

4. Digital storytelling helps you to evoke an emotional response from the listener.

When you can produce meaningful content that connects with the listener on a personal level, then your message will create an emotional response in that individual. Although we think logically, we learn emotionally in most situations. It is easier to remember something when we can relate to the subject matter in some way. If you are inspired by the message, then you will follow it. Digital storytelling gives you the opportunity to develop content that anyone in the world can access if they have a data connection.

5. It gives you a chance to go viral.

Digital storytelling seeks to provide people with materials that are entertaining, useful, or both. It is a way to pass along knowledge that others will want to experience. When there is great content that appeals to a group of people instead of one person, then more people will begin to talk about the stories that you tell.

This principle works offline in the classroom too. If you have offered a digital story to students that they found entertaining and engaging, then they will discuss that experience with their family and friends. Every time they access this memory to recall the event, the information you provided to that person has its importance reinforced. That is why this type of content is so effective at producing results.

6. You become a reliable source of information.

People at any age, including toddlers, want to learn from the people that they consider to be experts. That’s why parents are always getting the “why” questions from their little ones. When you are a teacher, a salesperson, a coach, or in any other position of leadership, then being in a position of expertise makes you the No. 1 resource that others will use when they need to learn something new.

Creating results that are consistently strong, whether professional or educational, will help to grow loyalty within your following. When the value propositions you offer are robust and useful, then more people what want to listen to your stories. Although it takes time for your expertise to establish itself, this benefit is difficult to remove once it arrives.

7. Digital storytelling attracts relevant listeners.

Every business uses digital storytelling as a way to reach out to their customers and clients because it is a way to attract people that are interested in finalizing a transaction. A strong story requires a dedication of energy, effort, and time to create a final product that has value to the listener. Creating this information requires a lot of sweat equity, and then presenting it effectively takes even more. Even if you fail to create an emotional response, a digital story that creates an immersive effect will create the outcomes that you want to see.

8. It allows you to involve other people.

The best digital stories that are told today are the ones which include everyone. If you can incorporate your students, clients, or employees in the tale that is being created, then your response levels will generally be more positive. When you have a diversity of perspectives available to you, then there is a greater chance that your content will have relevance. It gives you an opportunity to explore different valid points of view while providing evidence of your expertise in a variety of ways.

9. Digital storytelling helps you to reach the correct audience.

When you create an engaging story to tell other people, then your message will reach the listener in some way. Even people who have an aversion to marketing messages will listen to your tale to determine if it holds value for them. Three out of four companies that use digital storytelling find that the quality and quantity of their leads rises when they use a strategy that involves telling a story.

This principle works in the classroom as well. Students who are not engaged with specific subjects will become more interested if they can identify with a story that someone tells them. It works because a story communicates to someone that they are valuable and wanted. That’s why it builds an enduring loyalty if the storyteller offers the message in a manner that is authentic.

List of the Cons of Digital Storytelling

1. Digital storytelling takes time to build an audience.

People always want to hear a good story. When they see someone telling one and there is a crowd gathered around them, then their curiosity will have them come over to hear what is being shared. Digital storytelling works in the same way. The first time you tell the tale, only a handful of people might start to listen. As more people discover the value in the message, then they will encourage more individuals to explore what you’re sharing. It takes time and you must be patient, but the information retention that this concept offers can help your message stick in the mind of the listener.

2. There is a cost to consider with digital storytelling.

When you tell a good story to a co-worker or a classroom of students, then the listeners are using their imaginations to fill in the details of your tale. When you use digital storytelling as a medium, then you must supply all of the audio and visual elements that get your point across to someone else. That means you must spend time and money to develop relevant text, audio, and video media which will drive your point home for the readers. Then you must continue producing new content to stay relevant in the minds of those who must continue on the learning journey with you.

3. Digital storytelling can be challenging to manage.

When you are working with creative people, then you will discover that it can be a unique challenge to keep them motivated. Digital storytelling is a way to create higher levels of engagement that help students and professionals produce their best work possible. What you will discover is that trying to schedule enough time to share your stories and having a meaningful discussion can take up a lion’s share of the time that you have with which to work. If you are unable to meet this challenge, then you will not be seen as an expert in your field.

4. People can take a different meaning away from your story.

Although the purpose of a digital storytelling effort is to create a specific, measurable outcome that applies to all listeners, the reality of telling these tales can be very different. You can have people hear something very different because of their own experiences and perspectives that can take you down a rabbit hole of tangents from which you may never escape.

It doesn’t take much to create this disadvantage either. When a storyteller says something simple, like “Hello there!” some people could think that they are replacing their name with “there” and assume that the content provider is calling them by name. One must be very careful with the words chosen in a digital story to reduce the risk of leaving the wrong impression.

5. It can be challenging to attribute results.

You must have a proper system of metrics and management in place before you start the digital storytelling process to determine if your efforts are successful. If you are in an educational environment, then one of the standard ways to obtain this information is through the use of a pre-test and post-test for the story. When your work occurs in professional settings, this evaluation process is not as possible, so you must find other ways to measure the effectiveness of your content to determine if you should keep telling your story.

6. Anyone can be a digital storyteller, but it is not for everyone.

Telling stories is a time-consuming process. Whether you are creating a blog post or sharing a tale with a classroom to help them remember algebraic equations, the principles are still the same. It is hard work to be a digital storyteller. Even if you’re not afraid of rolling up your sleeves to get your hands dirty, this skill is not a good fit for everyone. You must be patient, willing to answer questions, and handle a lot of rejection to be effective at this skill.

7. You only have one chance to hook the listener.

This significant disadvantage can be difficult to overcome because your digital storytelling must have a hook that interests the listener for it to be effective. If you cannot overcome this issue, then none of the benefits that are possible will ever come into existence for you. There must be a positive first impression given with your tale for it to have an opportunity to share knowledge with others. You do not have a lot of time to make a positive first impression either. Most listeners will have already made up their mind in the first 7 seconds of your story as to whether or not you offer value. Then they take another 20 seconds to determine if they made the correct choice.

The pros and cons of digital storytelling will help you to craft a tale that can encourage learning in a variety of ways. Whether you’re teaching core educational concepts or instructing someone about your brand, this communication method is one of the most effective ways to get your point across to someone. If you rush through the creation process or don’t have the patience to let momentum build, then you may not be able to maximize the potential gains that are available with this resource.

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