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Digital stories: the benefits and tensions

Clodagh Miskelly the spoke about the pros and cons of digital stories as a communication approach.

Clodagh is a UK based freelance digital story facilitator who has been working with digital stories for ten years. She has covered a range of issues from healthcare to famine thorough the use of advocacy, community activism and communication skills.

For Clodagh, the positive aspects of digital storytelling include:

  • An ability to combine photography (including people’s own personal albums) and images that have been created for the stories (both illustrative and metaphorical) to convey the wealth of individual experience
  • Allowing people to make their own judgments and learn from the process
  • The ease with which they can be based around a simple hook (for example, a photo or dramatic question)
  • Illustrating the power of the voice itself – it is a personal story told in someone’s own words. Their voice, accent, emotion and pace all convey the experience
  • The medium’s strength as an advocacy tool
  • The chance to use anecdotal material – they tell a simple story which makes them memorable
  • Their success in reaching out to people on a human level

Codagh then went on to explain some of the challenges of digital storytelling:

  • The format can be imposed unnecessarily – sometimes people decide that they are going to create a digital story regardless of whether this is the best option
  • People sometimes mimic forms of other successful storytellers and feel the story has to be done in a certain way that has worked for other people
  • Sometimes people feel they have to tell the story people want to hear
  • People can make great stories, put them on the website “and then what…..?”


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Key facts

This blog is part of the Spark discussion Digital storytelling.
This discussion includes:
-Intro: Digital storytelling
-Learning from Patient Voices
-Digital stories: benefits and tensions
-Key issues to emerge

Read more about the Spark project and other discussions


Background paper | Digital storytelling (640kb)