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10 Key Milestones of the Evolution of Storytelling

[fa icon="calendar"] 09-Dec-2014 21:47:17 / by Iliyana Stareva


We are storytelling creatures. From the very beginning of civilisation, humans have told stories to transmit messages that needed to be remembered and retold.

The emergence of the Internet and digital technologies has brought about some significant changes to how we tell stories today. Blogging, Facebook, SEO, wearable technology are among the driving forces that have shaped the evolution of modern storytelling.

Over the centuries our need to tell stories hasn't gone away, I would say it's become bigger and bigger. What's changed though are the array of mediums we can use for our stories.

Storytelling tools and mediums

During the past ten years this array has grown massively, accounting for the most rapid evolution of storytelling in communications history and some new storytelling trends such as short videos on Vine or Snapchat stories that disappear in 24 hours. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on the PR business. As natural storytellers, PR people have had to evolve to and adapt new tools and channels to tell clients' stories and disseminate information.

The evolution of storytelling

To visualise the evolution of storytelling, an infographic by Carabiner Communications takes a look back at the trends that have shaped how corporate stories get told, exploring the years 2003-2014. This history lesson includes milestones from “blogging” becoming a dictionary entry to the latest tech innovation of wearable devices.

Some of the key milestones mentioned are:

  • the rise of the blogosphere in 2004
  • the emergence of social networking in 2005
  • the explosion of the mobile-first mentality since 2011
  • the new era of wearable technology as of 2014

You see, it's only been a decade, but so much has happened, hasn't it?

Technology and societal adoption now moves at a faster rate than our ability to adapt our modus operandi at work. Brian Solis calls this phenomenon Digital Darwinism.

Storytelling adds value

But no matter how big technology's influence is on our marketing and communications campaigns (and our lives too), one remains true – stories are at the heart of how we talk to each other, how we learn and share information and how we develop our thinking and grow as individuals. As human beings, storytelling is in our DNA and it should be deeply rooted into the brand DNA of companies too. Storytelling for business will be absolutely crucial to add value and build relationships with your customers and target audiences. It might already be so.  

The only thing that hasn't changed is having a good story to tell. Stories that lack value don't really get 'listened to' nor do they spread no matter how proficiently you use all new tools and mediums.

Check out the infographic for more details about the last decade of storytelling evolution:




In your opinion, how will storytelling evolve over the next 10 years?


Topics: Storytelling

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Program Manager in the Chief of Staff office for CX EMEAR at Cisco where she is the operational leader for all things Customer Success. In her previous roles at HubSpot, she led major cross-functional change for the global Partner Program with her detail-oriented approach to project management and advised hundreds of agencies on how to transform their businesses with inbound and digital. During that time, she earned the globally recognised Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification by the PMI. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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