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Storify for social media story-telling

In class this week, we looked at collaborative story-telling through social media, using the Storify platform to look at different aspects of the situation in Libya.

Storify that makes it easy to add content from TwitterFacebook, Flickr and other social media sites to a story with a simple “drop and drag” function.

The platform highlights what I have called ambient journalism. In a couple of papers published last year, I argued that:

Journalism, which was once difficult and expensive to produce, today surrounds us like the air we breathe. Much of it is, literally, ambient, and being produced by professionals and citizens. The challenge going forward is helping the public negotiate and regulate this flow of awareness information, facilitating the collection, transmission and understanding of news.

Storify is one tool that helps us filter the constant flow of acts of journalism taking place all around us.

At a time when we are swimming in an ocean of news and information being reported, distributed and shared, it also emphasizes the need for professionals such as journalists who can help navigate all this data.

It puts the journalist in the role of curator, selecting the best fragments of news to create a coherent story experience, adding context and analysis.

Storify, in private beta for now, has its limitations. In using it in class, we found that collaborating on a story is possible but clunky.

My students also found it seemed to worked best with breaking news, as it is difficult to search for tweets from more than a day ago. A search by date function would be useful in helping to pull together a timeline of an event.

And thanks to the CEO and co-founder of Storify, former AP foreign correspondent Burt Herman, who Skyped in to the class to talk about the ideas behind the platform.

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