Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of the internet creature named ‘Slender Man’. It was not until slender man became an almost household name that I first began to learn more about him. I think the fact that web storytelling is so popular, certainly had an effect on the rising familiarity of this character. The ‘open source’ element of web storytelling allows anyone to collaborate with others to tell his story. It is this openness that allowed his story to be shared so quickly, and to so many people worldwide.

Over the years, Slender Man has been credited with some rather chilling stories. For example, two teenagers in Wisconsin were charged with attempting to kill a friend after they reportedly were visited by Slender Man, and convinced to perform this horrible deed. However, more commonly, Slender Man is only a fictional character that many teenagers have become familiar with, usually through social media sites such as YouTube or Facebook.

I see this as traditional storytelling in a new medium. When I first think of storytelling, it reminds me of a group of acquaintances around a fire, taking turns telling their stories. Digital storytelling is similar, in the fact that each user can create, or add on, to a story. However, there are some distinct differences. The fact that the story is digital allows people from every part of the world to add their own cultural differences, something not often found in a group of acquaintances. Furthermore, stories are able to spread much quicker when shared digitally (such as through social media), instead of being passed only by word of mouth.

One comment on “Slender Man and Storytelling

  1. Paul

    I actually never heard of Slender Man until I started doing research for this class. I’m fascinated by the way the digital environment morphs the ways we tell stories, and also morphs the role of the audience, so that they can contribute beyond retelling. As you say – traditional with differences.

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