Fergus Kelly: Storify – A Tool for Communicators

Curation is one of the buzzwords surrounding the online future of news. It’s been hailed as the ‘new journalism’, but I don’t think that’s right. It will not replace journalism, it’s simply another communication tool in the online jounalist’s box. Storify is a brand new curation tool makes it simple to create, curate and embed stories in any web page.

It aims to provide a simple tool to help manage information on the social web. It offers to help us derive meaning from all the information that comes our way daily and make it practical and accessible to use.

I’ve been waiting for Storify for months. I first heard about it via Robert Scoble in an obscure tweet what seems like an age ago. The service moved into beta at TechCrunch Disrupt and I finally got a chance to explore what Burt Herman and the team had created.

At its core, Storify allows users to collect web pages, tweets, Facebook status updates, Flickr images and YouTube videos into a handy container. Each of these individual items can be annotated by the user, building up a story. The backend has a search engine and a simple drag-and drop interface, allowing the creation of the story in a vertical, top-to-bottom format. There’s also a handy bookmarklet to add and comment on web pages as you browse, though everything can be edited at Storify.

Once you’ve got your story saved there’s a handy option to tweet the people you’ve quoted to let them know about your story. Storify stories are hosted on its website but they can also be embedded in any web page and the result looks very, very good.

To make it easy to distribute the story, the embed includes Facebook Like, Tweet and email buttons and a button to let the reader share the story on their site.

The stories are what this tool is all about. Other services allow the collection of updates but Storify is focused on the story. It’s an alternative way to narrate current or past events, giving the user a means to “quote” the web.

It is one of the first in a new range of curation tools that we’ll see more and more of unless the CMS (content management system) giants or bedroom coders add the functionality directly into WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

Storify is one of the best of the story curation tools I’ve had access to so far. It opens up a huge number of possibilities for the creative online journalist or blogger. The more information startups like these can get about their creations the better they can make them.

As more and more information is created we shall need more and more tools like Storify to help us to both manage it and make sense of it. We communicate by telling stories to each other and these technologies are vital to help us in sharing our understanding of the world around us.

You can read more articles by Fergus Kelly at ferguskelly.net

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