This is the first post of a new biweekly series on tools, resources and apps to help PR and media professionals be more productive and effective.
What it is
Storify is a handy curation tool that will help you tame wild and noisy streams of tweets, status updates and multimedia uploads flowing through the social media ecosystem to form a coherent narrative. The tool, which was named one of Time's "50 Best Websites of 2011," enables users to pick and choose specific bits of online content and insert them into a clean, customized and embeddable story.
In other words, Storify helps "To make stories using social media," according to its very own home page.
Why it matters
Whether you're a journalist working on a story, a PR professional aggregating information into an easily accessible presentation for the media or a parent trying to create a nifty online record of a child's first Halloween, Storify can help simplify time-consuming processes.
Storify streamlines tasks that would otherwise require multiple open browser windows or tabs, cutting and pasting, saving and uploading, and a few too many clicks. By creating a story in Storify, users have instant access to content from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and elsewhere all in a single browser window.
For example, a reporter trying to describe the origins of a news event using tweets and photos can use Storify to create a simple embeddable timeline to use as a story within their larger story, or as a way to present the entire story itself. With social media streams on the left and the composition window on the right, this would save the reporter from the headaches of embedding individual tweets and photos into their story. Quoting tweets is one thing, but being able to embed the actual tweets themselves -- complete with clickable handles and profile pictures, time stamps, and retweet and reply buttons -- in a comprehensive and enlightening presentation is a more compelling approach.
Not only that, but the reporter is able to insert bits of text into their story. This means stories created in Storify don't have to merely be masses of borrowed, aggregated content -- they can be rich, lively and unique narratives. (For examples, see the "Additional resources" section below.)
Bottom line: Storify helps users weave a story by funneling content from numerous external sources into one tidy, chronological column that's easy to read and share.
How to get started
- Head over to Storify.com
- Click on "Join Storify" or "Log in" in the upper right corner
- Authorize Storify to access your Twitter account by signing in with your credentials
- Enter your email address (if you choose)
- Take it for a spin by clicking "Create Story" at the top of the page
- Give your test story a title and write a brief summary
- Access content from various social networks on the left side of the page
- Simply drag and drop content into your story on the right side of the page
- Add text in your story by clicking on the "T" buttons before and after each piece of content
- Save your story as a draft, preview your story or view your story by clicking on the buttons in the upper right corner of the page
- Once you view your story, you can publish it to your blog or other sties; notify the people you quoted that you've used their tweets, etc., in your story; share the story with a link; or click on "Embed story" and manually insert the code on your site
While the interface may look daunting at first glance, the learning curve isn't as steep as it seems. The best way to learn how to use Storify is to create a test story and tinker away without any fear of failure.
Also, Storify's home page displays featured stories and trending topics, which are helpful for getting an idea of how the tool can be utilized.
- An example: "Reaction: Muammar Gaddafi killed in Libya"
- Another example: "#OccupySesameStreet: The Making of a Meme"
- Ten Ways Journalists Can Use Storify (Zombie Journalism)
- Storify: Create Stories Using Social Media (Web AppStorm)
- Five Ways to Storify Your PR and Marketing Efforts (PR Meets Marketing)
- Tips and information from Storify
The day after this post went live, Storify went and got itself a makeover. Among the changes are:
- a new logo
- a new interface that includes: flipping the editor and search columns, a gallery display for photos, cleaner text input and a collapsed view for stories
- smoother drag-and-drop
- an improved bookmarklet and a new feature called StoryPad, which lets users collect, save and share media from the Web
For more details on the revamped Storify, see the site's Storified blog post.