Steller: Time Will Tell

We don’t really take our time anymore

Our lives are expressed in 140 characters, our messages smashed quickly into a touchscreen and our videos are 6 seconds long.

We live in a time when being told you have the attention span of a goldfish, technically becomes a compliment.

We consume quickly. Dipping in and out of stories as and when we please, scanning and scrolling, stopping and starting. We tailor what we see, who we follow, what we like.

So, how would you react, to a platform that abolished these constraints? Meet Steller.

The story-telling app combines text, image and video like no other mainstream platform. Each strand intertwining and adding a different dimension to the user experience.

“Consuming a story is as simple as flipping through the pages of a book”

The stunning Steller takes time. It is not consumed in small chunks, or singular pieces. You can’t start at the end, nor end in the middle.

It is designed to be chronological, connected.

The result is a story. The incessant demand for information in the technological era here is subverted.

“Some of the things we love most, TV and movies and music, are delivered in this linear fashion, with a beginning, middle and an end,” said Wilder. “We think that Steller has had this staying power because it balances creative tools with simplicity, so users can enjoy the story as it reveals itself.”
— Jay Wilder (Co-founder of Steller)

The ability for a user to give this chronological experience, and take viewers through, is one that gives Steller a sense of originality. The interface ensures that there is no way around this structure. But does this originality also pose risks regarding its success?

Rivals such as Instagram, Twitter moments and Snapchat, now all have video storytelling capabilities giving users the ability to upload individual posts instantly, or in fact collate their own stories.

Facebook Live’s emergence also gives priority to the demand for instant updates, a focus on the speed of delivery, from moment to medium.

Steller doesn’t have this urgency.

Stories are uploaded in a single post, with a collation of pages, consisting of image, video or text that allow users to tell their stories through few words, and let others visualise their story, instead of reading about it. There are no spoilers, no cheats, no shortcuts.

My efforts to report on a Premier League football match via Steller give a fresh and original approach to journalism. I could represent the match like no other reporter. But the speed of delivery means that by the time I have finished and uploaded my story, others have been live-blogging, tweeting and reporting on the moments as they happened.

The collective nature of the platform allows the creator, also, to take their time. Things can be explained through a text page, or it can be left with no description at all.

Instead, the platform is best suited to timeless stories, with no need for instant communication. The story may simply be a collection of images, with room for the user to interpret meaning at their own leisure.

Steller’s success may also be its downfall. Only when our attention spans and thirst for stories is replenished will Steller become the next ‘big thing’.

Although, maybe it doesn’t need to be exactly that: a big thing.

An insistence on time, and a priority on speed means that other platforms will always occupy the forefront as far as social media goes. Steller offers an alternative, more thorough way to tell stories through utilising multimedia. The content may not always be newsworthy or groundbreaking, but it gives a sense of beauty to those who use it on a consistent basis.

As far as multimodality goes, utilising Steller as a form of storytelling - nothing’s better.

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