Narrative Considerations on Social Media
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of English Honors Theses; 2013
Meaghan Novi. Honors Research Brief. Narrative Explorations in the Age of Social Media. Introduction: In The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, H. Porter Abbott defines a narrative as a “representation of events” (12). In understanding and internalizing the foundations of narrative, we begin its deconstruction; or, as modernist writers such as James Joyce might have put it, in studying exactly how stories are put together and how they work, we engage in the creative destruction of established form. Making such "creative destruction" all the more imperative is the ongoing revolution in social interaction taking place through the advent of new media. The consistent availability of new media platforms, while redefining the nature of human relationships, is opening avenues for writers to challenge the conventions of storytelling--and in the process necessitating new approaches to the study of narrative. Objectives: By writing an experimental novel playing with the definition of narrative and character via 21st century methods of communication, my goal is to explore the contributions of media to the perception of characters' personal and public lives in relation to self and others. H. Porter Abbott writes, “it is only through narrative that we know ourselves as active entities that operate through time” (130). This research project primarily aims to understand the effects of the technological age on narrative and ultimately on contemporary society. My project will also include a "coda" in which I discuss the what I discover during the process of producing my experimental novel. In this part of my project, I will aim to address questions such as “To what degree does social media contribute to the narrative that explains our private and public lives?” and “How do we push the boundaries of narrative to explore the most cutting-edge, innovative ways people are connecting with each other?” Significance: As globalization progresses, per capita incomes rise and fall, information is shared, and technological advances continue to chronotopically define youth and age, social media will remain pertinent to the organization and routine of our daily lives. Such media will also come to determine, if they have not done so already, how we choose to spend our time. Ruth Page writes, “the development of social media formats in the first decade of the twenty-first century has enabled people to document the stories of their daily experiences in online, public or semi-public domains in unprecedented measure” (i). #unprecedented. The study of social media use has only just begun. Statistics such as the demographics of users as well as user patters have recently been gathered for analysis. However, social media has not been studied in the way that I propose to in this research project. My study will combine scholarly, critical analysis, experimental writing, and sociological perspectives on stories and storytelling to gain an understanding of the addictive principles of social media, why we have chosen to enter into a virtual relationship which has begun to change the way we engage with our identity, and how these dynamics are now playing out in the narratives of our contemporary moment.
Academic Major: English