Participatory StoryTelling

As I was thinking about our Twitter story, certain elements of the story made an impression on me and became the focus of this reflection. There are two characters and one artifact that I found intriguing and worth investigating. At the project outset, I had several ideas for a media project that would be fun to create for retelling the Twitter story. I thought about creating a board game where you advanced along a storyboard collecting tokens ($) or earning changes to advance or losing a turn to be held behind. As I created the different targets (gaining tokens, advancement, or waiting) I began looking through the story for relevant points. Some ideas included:


  • your birth certificate was found – take a token
  • your phone is vibrating – take a token


  • click-click-click-Flash – advance 2 spaces
  • You find a bill of sale – advance 2 spaces


  • you get stopped for questioning by @lott – lose a turn
  • Mom? Mom I can’t hear you – lose a turn
  • You get hit by a car – lose a turn

I wasn’t quite sure how to execute the game in a digital format without a lot of programming. Perhaps, a Prezi presentation along with some kind of digital dice?

I also began storyboarding a comic that I thought I would create using pixton. I haven’t played around much with pixton and thought it would be a good challenge. The storyline that began taking shape involved a young girl getting on an airplane. Between falling asleep listening to an audio story and overhearing a conversation between her young seatmate and his/her mother, “Diane” (the mother’s name on the Kye birth certificate)  remembered a strange mix of a story involving her mother who had recently died, static from a movie about a bear and cat that her seatmate was watching, and a crime investigator. As she departs the plane at her destination and is walking down the street (followed by a 3-legged cat) she bumps into a plaid-shirt wearing-cop rather abruptly. Then she arrives at an attorney’s office where she is collecting what remains of her dead mother’s estate: a box. I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull off the complexity of the props needed for the cartoon and I knew that my drawing ability wouldn’t be nearly good enough.

I also thought about creating a screencast movie where a female detective was reviewing a case journal belonging to an investigator who had disappeared. I was going to recreate some of the notes that @lott might have written in his notebook. Items like:

“Went to visit Ren to follow through with our deal but Ren reluctant to pony up with the goods.”

“Followed security breach at Raleigh City WV City hall to find out what I can about the birth certificate.”

“I have the box in possession. It hums. What could that mean? I’ve got to find out how to access it.”

Of course, on the last page of the case journal, there would be a big splotch of pancake syrup.


I also hadn’t gotten beyond my idea of creating a physical object that could be printed out, manipulated, and then used as a container for telling the story. If you recall, my original AR project idea was to create a globe that could be printed out and used as a trigger image with different creation stories for overlays. I kept running into difficulties finding a good trigger images.  And since it was a physical object, it would have to be augmented in order to use digital media. So I was resolved to create a “fortune teller” or “cootie catcher” as I remember calling it in elementary school. As I worked my way from the inside of the fortune teller to the outside, I really began to concentrate on the elements of the story that stood out for me and would eventually become four “fortunes.” Then as I began thinking about the words that would be at the first level of the catcher and they were Ren, Kye, Cat, and Box. All three-letter words. Hmmm…doesn’t make for much variation! After some rethinking, the first level became: Ren, mystery box, 3-legged cat, and @lottruminates.

StoryCloudInteractive site:

(For some reason, this version of WordPress, or my theme, seems to be stripping object codes so I’m not able to embed the interactive webie site…the same thing happened with the Pearl Object code.)

I then started creating my media pieces. As I began to create triggers for my media overlays I realized that I was creating an unnecessary barrier to accessing the media pieces and that the act of making first level and then second level choices weren’t necessarily related to my reflection and that you, my peers, probably didn’t want to print, cut, and fold a fortune teller and then, be required to find the Aurasma channel and use a mobile device to see the media pieces. Exactly what was this adding to the story? So, one board game, one comic, one screencast, and six draft fortune teller versions later, ladies and gentlemen….the media pieces without the unnecessary barriers:

Participating in the story was at times, frustrating. I was disappointed several times when the story wasn’t going in the direction that I imaged and had to decide if I wanted to turn it around (in 140 characters) or just go with it. I was first disappointed when the gender of Kye and Ren was so quickly established. Then the disappointment changed to intrigue when the birth certificate was posted. Was the certificate the same Kye or another Kye? I got hung up on the old phrase, “oh if only the picture could talk” and went with it.



In the beginning, I had to get my head around whether Twitter was part of the storytelling or just a mechanism to tell the story. Did it really matter who was sending the tweet ? Did KyeKye2000’s posts take on a different meaning because they were from the fictional Kye or not? Was KyeKey2000 real?  I introduced CU8RQT…it was an attempt to introduce a new character that wasn’t well thought out and didn’t work out well. As it became clear that the Twitter’s post name wasn’t important, tweets that contained “@CU8RQT said (or insert other verb)” plus adding the story’s hashtag didn’t leave enough characters to create a tweet that contributed to the story. Very often, for each tweet, every letter and space held a valuable place and wording had to be selected very carefully and not wasted. In many ways, @lottruminates took on the role that I envisioned @CU8RQT portraying in the story….but obviously much better executed as the character became one that several of us used.

When the cat and bear were introduced they immediately reminded me of characters from some of the folktales about Brer Rabbit. I also had in my mind that their relationship to each other was similar to C-3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars in that they had this dependent relationship and that it was required that they function together. I found the bear quite sympathetic and not threatening at all.


And Niko, I’m pretty sure that he/she was manipulating the entire story. Had we been able to continue I think it would have been my goal to make it clear that he/she was really in charge.

Towards the end of the five weeks, several days passed without anyone adding a tweet and it was frustrating to have the story stop, ending with one of my tweets which I felt wasn’t a very good conclusion. I was very relieved  to see that my peers added more posts to create a better conclusion.