Baratunde Thurston, futurist, comedian, bestselling author, and cultural critic, will present the keynote Digital Storytelling Doesn’t Have To Be Boring And Sucky. It Can Be Fun! at edUi 2018. We wanted to get to know him a little better, so we asked him a few questions.
edUi 2018 is our tenth conference! Thinking back to 2009, what has changed and what’s still true in our industry?
Twitter is mostly horrible now. The planet is hotter. And Fortnite is now the leading digital educational platform for young people.
If your professional life was a movie title, what would it be and why?
The Hunger Games. I’m constantly in motion, pursuing the most promising opportunities, teaming up with others (some of whom end up being untrustworthy!), and every night the face of a prominent fallen player is broadcast in the sky, though in this case, it’s always the face of someone fired from the Trump administration.
In only three words or phrases, what is your worst UX story?
The New York City subway is the worst user experience. It’s as if they think too many people in New York are achieving their dreams, and so they exist to humble us at every turn. The temperature variation alone is enough to drive you mad (and ill), but then there’s the constant but unpredictable delays, the trash, the smell, the crowding. The subway is making our city unusable. It is the ultimate UX fail. But it gets worse, because the web experience is just as bad as the IRL one. Visit http://mta.info. I dare you to make sense of it. The homepage is just a ginormous collection of text links. It’s like they don’t think people have goals in life. It looks like Craigslist. No. It makes Craigslist look like innovation. The MTA homepage has 340 links. The New York Times, literally ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT, only has 240 links in its homepage. But I guarantee the MTA provides far less useful information. It’s a shame. It’s the worst. New York’s MTA is the worst.
What are you going to talk about at edUi 2018?
Likely my own experiences using technology to advance the mission of ancient institutions, lessons I’ve learned communicating in a digital medium, plus some thoughts on race, justice, and the future of everything.
What is the biggest misconception about digital storytelling?
That it’s about the “digital” part.
About the Author
Baratunde Thurston is a futurist comedian, writer, and cultural critic who co-founded Cultivated Wit and the About Race podcast, and wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black. Baratunde was a political blogger for four years, ran digital strategy for The Onion for five years, was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans by The Root, and has been part of noteworthy institutions such as Fast Company, TED, the MIT Media Lab, and the gentrification of Brooklyn, New York.
Baratunde will present the keynote Digital Storytelling Doesn’t Have To Be Boring And Sucky. It Can Be Fun! at edUi 2018.