Using new technology affordances to organize during high uncertainty
This paper extends Pentland and Feldman’s (2007) narrative network method and uses it to more clearly understand how new technology affordances and digital spaces impact storytelling and enactment during and immediately after a crisis. To do this, I (a) examine the meaningful roles human motivation and feelings play in online storytelling and enactment, and (b) analyze how context impacts storytelling and enactment, and therefore the construction of narrative networks. Specifically, I analyze a series of Facebook messages exchanged during a recent, very publicized campus crisis to reveal the nonlinear digital stories that are co-constructed online to keep others informed. I demonstrate how crisis-affected populations capitalize on the affordances offered by social media to enact stories, correct stories, and ultimately to aid in sensemaking and sense-giving after a crisis event. Implications of new technology affordances for creating and updating narratives throughout times of high uncertainty are provided.
Keywords: digital storytelling, narrative, narrative network, social media, crisis communication, new technology affordances
Published online: 02 July 2019
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