Indian Electronic Writing: Publics, Platforms and Possibilities

Abstract (in English): 

In Electronic Writing, what often becomes more essential than the narrative is how the computational elements are brought into the fold of storytelling with the text at its centre (Heckman and O’Sullivan 2018). It is true but not uniform across all spaces of creative production. Collaborative efforts like We Are Angry | Experience have been very successful in using the online space to deliver a powerful message. But, in a space like India, the digital divide also dictates the mode of storytelling, especially when it comes to solo ventures. When we think about Indian online narratives, the most common instances reach us via social media (Shanmugapriya and Menon 2018). Despite its reach, the extent of experimentation is rather low. That is why much of the writing can also be found on blogs hosted by websites like WordPress or Blogger. Yet, from personal experience of online writing, as most of the readership is found on mobile phones, the amount of media that can be incorporated is also limited. It is limited because, in a space like India, many people still do not have access to a standard internet connection to view the multimodal elements.

My paper proposes to address how individual storytellers, i.e., the people who write, design, and publish narratives all by themselves, without any collective or institutional support, who are forced to be minimal, go about telling stories in the online mode. My central research questions would be to understand: 1) the markers of Indian-ness (if any will vary from a case to case basis as it is impossible to reduce a culture to certain markers) in the narratives 2) the socio-cultural background of people who are telling these stories 3) the platforms they are choosing to tell these stories. To gather the data, I intend to float a short survey in various research and writing communities and use the dra. ft | Future of Text (@dra_ft_) • Instagram photos and videos archive to develop my hypothesis. Via analysis, I hope to understand the type, mode, and platform(s) most accessible for storytelling in the Indian online space.

(Source: author's own abstract)

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Lene Tøftestuen