New media: Storify

May 4, 2011

This week Storify became available to all. The site allows users to create their own story by dragging and dropping content found on social media channels including Tweets, audioboo recordings, photographs from Flickr and YouTube videos. This can then be embedded onto a news website or blog page.

It is essentially a publishing platform that has been built specifically for the social Web, allowing people to turn social media posts into compelling stories. Storify essentially lets anybody become a news curator.  It has been claimed by some that Storify sits somewhere between blogging and journalism and in this way could transform the way people put blog posts together or even how some online publications curate the news.

Who will use it and why?

Even in private beta, with an invitation required, the site became so popular that the brand name became used as a verb, with people asking someone to “Storify” an event or social media conversation. In the 8 months since its launch more than 5,000 sites, including The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian have embedded Storify stories, and the stories have gained more than 13 million views, with March 2011 seeing 4.2 million views on its own.

It’s clear that this is a platform that has been enthusiastically taken on board by bloggers, PR professionals, journalists and major news organisations. It’s not hard to see why. This is because the tool is so much simpler and easy to use than traditional blogging platforms. By cutting and pasting social media content you can produce stunning rich media stories.

The future

With this initial success the big question remains: will it go mainstream? Now that Storify has gone public the site needs to decide exactly who their target market is. They have already stated that “This is still very much the beginning of our journey. Here at Storify, we have a lot more work ahead of us to realize our vision of a publishing platform built for the social Web.”

Events in the Middle East have shown how important social media can be with Twitter and Facebook at the heart of popular uprisings across the region. Al-Jazeera English has acknowledged this influence by launching The Stream. Storify is similar in its ideas to The Stream, which incorporates Twitter, Facebook and YouTube posts into its 30 minute show. The plan is to create a seamless presence between the web community and the programme.

It will be extremely interesting to see if Storify gets adopted by the mainstream in the same way. It needs to be recognised as the place to go when major events occur. Indeed, the single day with the most views came in March when the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan with more than half a million views of its articles. It’s clear that Storify must position themselves as the site to use when major events happen.


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