Distributed narratives

by Paul Maharg on 22/05/2005

Having been recently discussing with Susan Stewart of Glasgow U. the idea of distributed cognition, I came across the concept of distributed narratives, in a posting by Jill Walker.  Her view of it can be seen as a refreshing view of what Shirky has called social software — blogs, flickr, plazes

Distributed narratives demand more from their readers than reading or
suspension of disbelief. They ask to be taken up, passed on, distributed. They
seek to be viral, the memes of narrative, looking for readers who will be
carriers as well as interpreters. http://huminf.uib.no/~jill/txt/AoIR-distributednarrative.pdf

Whether or not social software will have a profound effect, it’s clear they’re built on network affects.  What I like about Jill Walker’s description of distributed narratives is the way she defines them as fragments. Social software exists in a tension of location and network, and dislocation or disjuncture: not one or the other, but both.

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