Your Brain and Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling BrainIt goes without saying that social media influences our lives: it affects our self-image and simulates feelings of love.

It helps people find a voice, gives a new avenue for self-expression, and can empower people.

What is social media but a form of digital storytelling?

Digital storytelling is “a way of talking about something that conveys not only information, but emotion and significance as well”, according to the CIO at Ohio State. It communicates who we are, what we do, and why we care. Why DO we care?

Your Brain on Storytelling

Our brains become more active when we tell stories.

Ever been in a lecture hall with a lecturer who has the blandest presentation (hi bulletpoints!) and monotonous delivery (“Bueller?“)? The part of your brain that processes words into meaning are activated, but that’s about it. Merely analytical. Nothing creative.

But when does what you’re hearing and reading stimulate additional areas of your brain?

I pounced on the fumbled ball.” Your motor cortex just lit up.

She slipped into her silk gown.” Your sensory cortex just went off the charts.

How you tell your stories influences how others perceive it, so how can you communicate to create social connectivity?

Storytelling Creates Social Connectivity

If storytelling ignites certain cortices of your brain like the frontal cortex, won’t it light up other areas and feelings, too? You betcha, don’tcha know!

Stories can be understood as a societal phenomenon, just as Malcolm Gladwell details in The Tipping Point. Like viruses, stories spread ideas, behaviors, and experiences that can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

Research has found that social connections serve as a link between positive emotions and health. Barbara Fredrickson, the leader of the research study, explains that “daily moments of connection that people feel with others emerge as the tiny engines that drive the upward spiral between positivity and health”.

Go Tell a Story

Statistics show that people are digitally composing their own stories frequently, so share yours now!

Have a few tips? Do you already know how to make the most of your digital storytelling?

Let us know by typing your comments below or use the SpeakPipe widget on the side of the page to leave a voicemail.

As a parting gift, here’s a story about the sandwich.

About Carson Reider

Carson Reider is a research and content contributor for NR Media Group and a graduate assistant at the Center for Sports Administration at Ohio University. He is currently pursuing an MBA/MSA and also writes for the Ohio University Sports Administration website and

  • Simon Heyes

    Nice article Carson! I’m a big fan of digital storytelling. Stories do evoke emotion, and it’s nice to see more brands coming round to the idea of telling stories. That said, surely the best stories put the audience into the story. Interactive storytelling, transmedia storytelling – those are the key areas I can see really coming into fruition over the next few years. Here’s my take on it >

  • Carson Reider

    Thank you, Simon. Emotion is a factor (if not THE factor) that connects a person to a brand, and transmedia storytelling is a great way to evoke it. It is great to see brands involved in transmedia storytelling -as you wrote about in another of your posts. As attention spans get shorter and screen-based interactions increase, transmedia storytelling will rule the digital marketing world.