One of the greatest aspects of social media is that it allows people to engage in new and creative avenues that didn’t exist even a decade ago. Internet marketing companies help the creative and technologically gifted to write and advertise ideas through innovative and socially dynamic platforms.
However, another burgeoning market allows the art of storytelling to dive into the twenty-first century in a unique and utterly modern way: social fiction.
A recent Mashable article introduces us to a fictional storyline that focuses on a camp gear-maker named Hawk Funn and a slew of other imaginative and relatable characters. There’s Portia, Hawk’s unsettlingly familiar teenage daughter who revels in pretending her father doesn’t exist. Or Reuben Spancake—Hawk’s whimsical college buddy who prides himself upon being a suburban cowboy IT manager. Relayed exclusively through Facebook and Twitter accounts, the characters jump off the screen as they share their thoughts and engage fans by answering individual questions.
In the eyes of imaginative social media fans, it becomes so real that Illustrator Steve Lowtwait achieves the desired effect of “blending fiction and reality to create a whole world.”
Blogging site Tumblr has also allowed users to create individual fictional characters and blog on their behalf. However, this new “genre” of fictional interaction takes social media to a whole new level.
So, what does all of this mean for the future of storytelling?
In a world where technology has changed nearly every aspect of our lives and where attention spans have become notably shorter, is it possible that the book, the cornerstone of storytelling from ancient times through the present, could become obsolete in favor of an instant gratification form of storytelling?
History often acts as a predictor. In this case, the advent of the Kindle, Nook, and other e-book devices seem to provide a basis to believe that the book, our long-standing cultural icon, will live on, happily joined by, and possibly morphed into, exciting new technological formats, which may well become the cultural icons of future generations. After all, when faced with the crisis of the insidious e-book, the print publishing world welcomed this stranger and embraced the perks of gaining wider audiences more accustomed to the technological world. Should social fiction assert itself as a lasting genre, the publishing world will likely welcome it with open arms, and collaborate to create social fiction publishing companies.
The combination of these companies, solely devoted to digitally publishing stories developed from social fiction pages will surely make a lasting change in the literary world.