Messing about with Storify

This week my new toy is Storify, a tool for searching out items from the social web – tweets, Facebook updates, Flickr photos, YouTube vids and more – and assembling them as a story. It seems to me the logical next step from Posterous and Tumblr – rather than just whacking up a single link or a copy of something you’ve seen elsewhere, you can seek out shared media on a specific issue and use it to create a coherent article.

It’s currently invite-0nly (invites are dead easy to get old of though, just enter your email address here) and in beta, which means that I’ve got slightly addicted to the feedback forum where you can suggest changes and improvements, and find out what changes are already planned. I don’t have an iPad but the drag-and-drop style of Storify is going to suit an iPad app beautifully.

So what to use it for? I’ve made two so far – on Sunday I put together a review/video collection of Friday night’s Elbow gig at the MEN, and this morning I used it to put together some thoughts on how to use social media for Labour campaigns (please feel free to suggest changes or additions to this. Oh, and a warning: it contains lots of Kevin), for some training I’m doing this evening. I’m going to be using the latter as the basis of a presentation of sorts, so we’ll see how well it works for that.

I’ve also considered it might be useful for:

– putting together a briefing on the social media response to a particular campaign/event/issue (basically, I’m always looking for an excuse to go on at my boss about Twitter :p)

– demonstrating an interesting or entertaining Twitter conversation (more effective than tweeting ‘OMG everyone look at @johannhari101 and @caitlinmoran’s last few tweets to each other, and almost as quick)

– creating a how-to guide: particularly if you’ve got videos available. I’m thinking I might do this if we ever start #mobmonday off again.

My Elbow story has gone down well mostly with other people who were also at the gig – including some of the people whose tweets I’d used: when you publish your story, Storify gives you the option of tweeting it at everyone whose tweets were included, which is an effective way of getting your story seen by people outside your own social network, as well as just being  polite 🙂

With both stories I’ve created so far, I was searching among a very limited number of social media items – in the Elbow story, I was searching for tweets, pictures and videos created on a single evening by people who actually attended the gig. So I’d be interested to see what could be made of an event with much more material available.

The obvious example there is the protest march on Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of people, vast numbers of whom are very engaged with social media – and many of whom had wildly different experiences of the day. I spent Saturday marching with a small group of friends, somewhere near the middle of the march, unable to see much (I’m 5’1.8″…) but definitely out of trouble; my housemate was right at the front for the speeches in Hyde Park; and of course I also have some people in my social networks who were part of the occupation of Fortnum & Mason’s. You can imagine how difficult it would be to collate tweets, pictures and videos into a story that represented the full range of experiences of an event as massive as Saturday – and how easy it would be to cherry-pick the bits that matched your own angle.

I haven’t seen any Storify articles that try to cover Saturday properly – the only one I’ve seen that related to it at all was by Greg Stekelman, who just used it to show a collection of his own tweets (and a photoshopped picture of Ed Miliband as a puppy. N’awwwww) – so if you have, let me know. Either way, if you’ve not got an invite yet, sign up!

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