Friday, April 23, 2004

--Repost from Brint--

Stories are quite resistant to scripts and browsers for a few reasons:

1. Stories are very context specific. We don't necessarily tell stories just for the sake of telling stories. The natural exchange of stories is dependant on the situation and audience. Unless you're an author--and few of us are--it's very difficult to record a story without the cues provided by the audience and environment. It's even difficult to remember a story or recall an anecdote without these prompts.

2. The language of stories is highly varied. In the Information Science world, we would refer to this problem as polysemity i.e., words can mean a variety of things. Scripts don't tend to handle metaphor very well. The sentence "a dark and stormy night", for example, has nothing to do with lumens or average precipitation. Instead, the sentence sets the tone to facilitate the oral exchange of information.

If you're really interested in this stuff, here are a few references of note:

Gabriel, Y. (2000). Storytelling in organizations : facts, fictions, and fantasies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Simmons, A. (2002). The story factor : inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub.

For a general treatise on oral culture, Ong is cannonical:

Ong, W. J. (1982). Orality and literacy : the technologizing of the word. London ; New York: Methuen.



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