Websites Have Stories Too

I found the Manovich article very confusing, and I am not entirely sure that I correctly understood the point of the article. If I am correct, the main point is that interactions with media that used to be “narrative” or “story” based have now lost their narrative element due to the nature of databases and mass media.

Manovich uses the “antinarrative logic of the web” as one example, stating “If new elements are being added over time, the result is a collection, not a story. Indeed, how can one keep a coherent narrative or any other development trajectory through the material if it keeps changing?” (Manovich 2010). As a counter example to Manovich’s argument, simply look at the ancient Greek oral storytelling tradition. The Trojan War occurred around 1200 BCE, yet the Homerian epics were not written until the 700s BCE.


Prior to Homer, the story of the Trojan War was recounted solely through spoken word, with little additions and subtractions to the story occurring frequently. One can argue that the factuality of the story suffered from this, but to say that the Homerian epics did not “keep a coherent narrative or any other development trajectory” before Homer wrote them down would be a foolish claim. Narratives can maintain consistent storylines even with constant additions, meaning that websites can maintain a narrative feature in spite of their malleable nature.

I am not claiming that all websites are always consistent, indeed, the inclusion of The Undefeated on ESPN’s website marked a change in the direction of their narrative. But some websites remain unchanging, ever faithful to their story and their narrative.


Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. MIT Press, 2010.

My source of knowledge about the Trojan War is my Classics 280 course.

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