The Unanswerable Question – Week 4 Story Critique

I wanted to something a little different. I wanted to use this week to get back to the foundations of my area of study – there is no normal. So I searched out videos related to the idea of trying to get a firm definition of what is normal. I liked What is Normal? One Minute Psychology by Dave S so I decided to use the video for my story critique.

What types of “involvement” – by the author/creator(s), participant(s), and/or audience – are apparent in this story?

In his video, Dave S crafts the story in a way that expresses a desire to answer the question he poses. He pulls in statistics, social psychology, clinical psychology and philosophy to try and frame an answer. He does an excellent job of pointing out the impossibility of creating a universal definition for “normal” that catches your attention.

How would you characterize the “literacy dimensions” present in this story? 

The author has a very strong interest in Clinical Psychology and philosophy. His YouTube channel contains an eclectic mix of videos focusing on religion, science, cosmology and pop culture riffs. His production values have a clearly defined style which he has used on other videos and are pretty good if a little basic. The narration is clear and understandable.

The graphic qualify of the story starts out in a promising way. Then the graphic and techniques he uses are very basic in a way that detracts from his message.

What are the online spaces and sites that bring this story to life? Why do these spaces and sites matter to the impact of the given story?

By sharing this story on YouTube, Dave S is targeting a broader audience. His message is simple and to the point while incorporating a level of data and information that will provide food for a more informed debate at a different level. YouTube was a great place to post this as it allows the largest audience on the internet to access the video and work with him to try and find an answer to the question he poses. Because of this spilt focus, I don’t think he was as successful as he could have been by focusing on either a lay or scholarly/scientific audience.

Based upon your assessment of involvement and literacy dimensions, what modifications and changes to this digital story might improve aspects of narrative, production, media usage, and/or audience engagement?

I think Dave S could improve the emotional impact of his story by using more emotive images and contrasting the clinical definitions he highlights with the social perceptions of what “normal” is. His story feels as if it’s just skimming the surface of a very complicated issue. This left me, as the reader, feeling disengaged and unfulfilled from the discussion.

On the technical side, I think that the font he uses for the onscreen text doesn’t match the message in the text which creates an uncomfortable juxtaposition, at least in my mind. The way he uses red on white on black highlights is challenging to read with the font he used. A major issue for me is that his narration doesn’t always match his on-screen text. This confused me and disappointed me a little bit. As someone with partial hearing loss, it sends mixed signals when on-screen text and narration doesn’t match.



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