Marketing versus Storytelling

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

I’ve been doing a lot of work on a website, engineering for multiple media types, doing a little javascript, and digging deeper into the possibilities of WordPress and Bootstrap. It would have been a great Rails project but that move might have been a little much. In any event, my job isn’t content or “design.” But the talk today did stray into areas that I would lodge into the category of social media and digital ecosystem storytelling and getting the word out or spreading the news.

Hypothetically, if a writer wanted to create a world of multiple, interconnected novels, and wanted to ride the line between characters who use Twitter and YouTube, how would this be done to encourage metafictional and real-world parallels. The characters, say Marvin and Luisa, Tweet a backchannel to their main storyline or plot. The writer pays a few friends to play these roles on Twitter. In the novel, Marvin and Luisa go to Germany. They rent a car. They have a fight at the counter. After the fight, Marvin gives one version of events in a few Tweets and Luisa returns her version with Tweets of her own. Twitter is mentioned briefly in the novel.

Does the use of Twitter in this regard provide an extension to the story? Is it something that might stand alone, especially if the fictional characters who tweet accumulate real followers, who either expect something more or come to the novel later. If the novel is told from one point of view, what happens when the other characters who tweet provide their own. Does this expand the POV of the novel, invite, for example, a new consideration of the reliability of the teller?

This is not just a question about fiction writing. It’s also interesting in the sense that “marketing” is even more influenced by the thinking of the storyteller. It’s NOT Marketing vs Storytelling; they become one in the same.


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