Storytelling is often looked at as something archaic or something that simpler cultures engage in. However, in our sophisticated and highly technological world storytelling swirls about us though we may not always recognize it. This thesis looks at the phenomenon of digital storytelling that functions to create community on the Internet. In order to ground this phenomenon in theory, I examine the works of Giambattista Vico, the 18th-century Neapolitan philosopher/rhetorician, who lived on the cusp of the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment. Furthermore, as a teacher of rhetoric to youth, Vico admonished young people to study the arts of poetry, painting, and oratory. These three arts are part of digital storytelling with the story line, visuals, and voice over. Digital storytelling, therefore, reaches more people because these arts are easily understood and accepted by people of all ages and education. Marshall McLuhan, the 20th-century Canadian scholar was an eclectic critic of technology and culture who anticipated the Internet. McLuhan used Vichian theory as the basis for some of his writings on technology. My study synthesizes and makes connections between McLuhan's writings on technology and the particular technology of digital storytelling. The new technologies bring back a secondary orality as well as more visual communication such as the radio and television in a print saturated culture. Today we are living in a world where writing, the spoken word and music, and visual images blend together in the digital milieu of the Internet. Digital storytelling is just one way that technology is being used to enhance an ancient genre. As one of its goals is to create community, this genre is trying to achieve what McLuhan suggested in the coming together of a global village.



College and Department

Humanities; English



Date Submitted


Document Type





digital storytelling, Giambattista Vico, Marshall McLuhan, sensus communis, Vichian theory, technology