Digital Storytelling vs. Blogging: The Difference is…?


Last week, I wrote about how I go through my creative process, essentially how I get down to the nitty-gritty of how I write a story.

When I started this job, I thought I’d just be blogging. Just like I do on any of my personal digital spaces. But instead, I’m doing some “digital storytelling.” I hadn’t really heard of the term “digital storytelling” until I started here and after doing a bit of research, I’ve discovered that it’s probably one of the most interesting things in digital these days.

There’s a difference between that and just your run of the mill blogging. Trust. Me.

Blogs are just words. I’ve read lots of blogs. News sites and other government agencies, they look at blogs as giant walls of text. I see so many walls of text in what I do it’s gross. I hate walls of text and I particularly hate writing walls of text.

But what makes a digital story?

Visual. Elements. We use graphics, we use diagrams, we use shareable images across our social media platforms. Photos. Videos. Our Instagram account is a digital storybook, essentially. (That and it’s fun to help manage!)

But that’s not all it is either.

It’s adding a personal element to the walls of text. It’s a bit of graffiti on those walls of text. It’s more descriptive language, more invigorating and inspiring topics. In government, it’s taking policy and practical information and turning that into something that people will genuinely care about.

For me here at FEMA, it’s injecting a little bit of excitement into something that may not seem interesting to anyone outside the field of emergency management or anyone that isn’t related to or friends with me and being consistently bombarded by the things that I’ve written.

Government blogs and other social media platforms don’t have to just be walls of text. (This also can apply to government webpages–as we’ve recently rolled out a content-centric BETA version of our website as well that you’re welcome to help kick the tires on.)

Government can have some personality, be relatable, and most importantly, be fun. I think that a lot of people forget that, especially those that sit in a position of leadership. Fortunately for me, I’ve got leadership that not only allows me to get a little more creative, but encourages it. It’s something that I find to be so desperately important.

I’ve had so much fun in this job so far (it’s been nearly nine months since I’ve started) and it’s only just beginning. Right now, I’m working on a new series of fantastic digital stories that I hope that people like you will read and enjoy.

Jessica Stapf is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply