Can one tell a story without using text? The answer seems to be yes because storytelling is clearly older than the text. Before text was invented, oral traditions of story telling were common in almost every culture that ever existed. In the last century, visual story telling in the form of albums and then video-based story telling in the form of audio and visual information gained popularity. Now we are at a point in the development of technology when one could use appropriate medium to convey appropriate experiences in a compelling form. Due to the long legacy of text and its domination in knowledge and experience sharing mechanisms, most emerging form of stories even using the latest technical device – the smart phone – are very text-oriented.
Text is just a visual form of speech used by humans in communication. Text was invented to provide more permanent mechanism for sharing experiences that were expressed in oral form using speech. As a mechanism in storytelling, text is a subset of oral stories. Text does lose emotional emphasis that could be very compelling in oral stories. Text does have a major advantage – due to its visual nature it is semi-dependent on time and allows powerful navigation and indexing techniques. In the modern technology also, currently text has major advantage over speech for navigation, linking, and indexing. Moreover, text is independent of a speaker.
Interestingly, with progress in speech recognition, we are soon likely to retain advantages offered by text and retain the advantages of speech or oral stories. Moreover, we may also have another advantage of capturing audio-visual experiences in very compelling form and use them in our stories. This all starts sounding very exciting; I can already see many exciting possibilities.