Even as technology becomes ubiquitous, embedded, and smart we still need stories. In fact, we need them more than ever.
The more data we get, the better we get at data visualization, the more we are swamped with numbers and graphs and information in general, the more we need stories. They are the oldest technology we have for making sense of things. As Drew Westen wrote in the August 6 New York Times, we need them to understand the world around us. When we don't get them, lots of things go wrong, including presidencies.
Good storytelling is going to become ever more important. Stories and data will need each other evermore.
New ways of telling stories will come into being. They already have. Consider Flipboard - which lets you curate your own magazine on your iPad, with your twitter stream mixed into the latest from Wired or other magazines. Or The Blu, an attempt at engaging the entire world in creating the ocean on the web. Or Pop-Up Magazine, a live event that brings works-in-progress to stage for one night stands. Or My Life is True, by Anne Stuhldreyer and Doug McCray (founder of Pop-Up) which presents 2 minute stories that matter. You can hear these stories on NPR and check them out on the web. Of course there are also the series of StoryCorps and This I Believe.
Here are some other resources on stories in our age. The Center for Digital Storytelling helps organizations of all kinds tell their stories using video and digital tools. Awhile back, TechSoup Global held a Digital Storytelling event - you can read about it here. BAVC's incredible Producer's Institute features several examples of new media stories. One which blew me away when I first heard about it is The Question Bridge which uses video and other media to enable conversations and Q and A between black men about the experience of being a black man. There are hundreds of questions and answers, each more interesting than the last. In aggregate, they become a database of insights, sliceable by every imaginable factor, interactive, and expandable.
The games and "gamification" craze ties into storytelling also - games inherently involve stories, either as part of the play itself or in recounting what happened. One of the distinguishing talents of great sportswriters is their ability to tell the same story (one side won, one side lost) over and over again in compelling ways - most often telling the story to the very people who actually watched the story unfold. Now, that's good storytelling!