A Story To Tell
There are many people out there with a story to tell and with the many and variegated formats of expression available on the web those stories have a far higher likelihood of being told today than ever before. Whether it is a daring account of a money transfer which makes a mockery of current interest rates, or a detailed account of events over a lifespan, stories are cropping up in threads, posts and blogs with an ever increasing frequency.
The Skill of Telling a Story
There are many who still bemoan the death of oral tradition. That say social media has performed a death knell on the art form of human expression which was routinely performed at the water cooler, locker room or barstool. This skill of relating a tale with a mixture of suspense and expression which leaves the listener with a general sense of fulfilment, through the general babble of social media has been slowly ebbing away incoherently. Storify is a website which clearly seeks to redress this balance and allow users to tell stories by drawing in information, images, videos, podcasts and references from across the web to create stories with depth, dynamism and relevance. It allows users to create a new kind of story.
In Time Top 50
Launched in April 2011, Storify combines features or elements from a range of social media websites from the likes of Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter to create a story telling medium which allows users to draw on a range of resources to create a tale which can then be easily hooked up to all of the above. Although it has yet to become the latest trend, it has a plethora of users from across the globe and Time has placed it in the top 50 websites of 2011.
Two Sided Interface
The website operates in a two sided interface which allows you to compose your tale on one side and draw on existing resources from the web on the other. As is the current standard you can login using your Facebook or twitters account. The design is neat and easy to use with drag and drop handling which works equally well on a tablet, smartphone or laptop. You can search for and find content in the right-hand panels of the page and drag them across into the left-hand panel where you can compose your story.
Layout is Simple and Easy to Use
As stated the layout is simplicity itself. The interface includes a generous portion of whitespace and clear, easy to use functionality. On the right hand is the media panel which allows you to search for content using popular sources like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Flickr. The search panel is also linked to Google to allow for full web search for content. The layout is in a tabbed format which allows content specific searches for information such as comments or images. When your search is successful you simply drag in the content that you want and add it to your story. A neat feature is the inclusion of bookmarking through the ‘Storify this’ function. This will add selected items to the storypad which will remain there until you select it to include in a story. Completed stories can be distributed directly to inboxes via email, uploaded onto Facebook or Twitter, or embedded onto a website or blog.
As with all stories through the history of time the issue of source, origin and ownership is one which is often questioned. As such the developers of Storify have addressed the issue slightly differently than some other similar curation services like Pinterest. The company does not hold any of the content that users curate on its servers. Instead the content that you access is uploaded from its original location. Through significantly intriguing algorithms the pages are uploaded expediently and the out sourcing of page content generally does not slow down the loading of stories. All posted content is also attributed to the source of origin.
In addition Storify does allow users the option to give the original creator notification when their content is being used. Currently this option is only enabled for content that has been curated from twitter. The creators have said that they wish to expand this feature to include a much wider range of content sources in the near future.
WordPress users will be pleased to know that there is a Storify plugin that integrates all of Storify’s curation facilities within the WordPress dashboard.