One of my favourite digital storytelling platforms at the moment is Zeega. The first thing that drew me to it was that it was so simple to use. It has a simple drag and drop interface which allows you to throw something together within a couple of minutes. The hardest thing about it is deciding what use to put it to. Artists use it, storytellers use it and now even newsrooms are using it. My 12 year old son created this in ten minutes. He really enjoyed it.
Designed by collaborative documentary makers, it draws on a few features of internet experience that are familiar to us already. Zeega relies heavily on meme culture and in particular, the gif. These constantly looping images are the language of this experience. Zeega founder Jesse Shapins calls them “the emotional currency of the internet”. There is also a large audio component and this makes it very immersive. Amongst the platforms which make their content available is SoundCloud. While most users tend to just use music as a backing track for their pages, the use of SoundCloud means that a user can record their own voice and create a narrative if they choose. At the moment, there is also the facility for using content from Flickr, Tumblr, Zeegas own library and Giphy which is a search engine for gifs. You can also upload your own content.
One of the more interesting features of Zeega is the use of scrollable media. Scrollable media are not new. It is the main navigation system for blogs. Although this is still linear storytelling, when it is combined with audio, Zeega creates an element of interactivity. There is also the option to create “hotspots” or links on a page which open up to deliver more content. If I could find out how to do this I would have even more fun with this platform. Add pacing into this, and Zeega is a platform that is making a new internet experience. Not bad for a start-up.
The reason why it is so simple to use is because it does away with all the issues of copyright that make digital media manipulation such a headache for users. None of the content from the other platforms is ever downloaded or copied. It stays in the cloud and is always cited when it is embedded in a Zeega. The end result is actually a website based on HTML5 although it is made with no programming or coding from the creator at all. My only gripe is that you cannot embed a zeega in a blog yet and it seems to have issues with Firefox.
Twitter is given a nod to in the way a Zeega limits the use of text on each page to 160 characters. This results in a finished product that relies on a combination of heavy visual stimulation and short powerful text. A perfect storytelling tool. To illustrate I have remade this blogpost as a Zeega here.
What will you use it for?