Quoting the social Web: Using Storify to turn posts into stories

Storify helps reporters curate the social Web by pulling in Tweets, Facebook posts and other items into a timeline.

As the use of social media increases among newsmakers, reporters are increasingly using social media as a primary source in reporting. Often, though, simply pulling in an important Tweet or Facebook post as a direct quote doesn’t take full advantage of the Web’s capabilities. That’s where Storify comes in.

The tool allows you to search for posts on Twitter, Facebook and other services, then pull them together into a curated timeline, complete with links to outside sources and text comments that can be used to provide context.

See this example from TBD.com for an idea of what’s possible with Storify. I’ve also created an example, using a viral trend that showed up in my personal Twitter timeline recently, that you can check out here.

Of course if you’re looking to embed a single Tweet, there’s a tool for that, Blackbird Pie, that’s a suitable alternative. Storify is for true curation of the social Web.

One important thing to know about Storify is that it’s in private beta, which means you’ll need an invite code to use the service. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered. Just read on.

To get started on Storify, just login with your Twitter credentials (assuming you’ve snagged an invite code). You’ll be taken to your “My stories” page where you can click to create a new story. Then it’s just a matter of searching for the content you’d like to include using the tools on that page. You can drag and drop from your search results straight into your Storify story and add your own comments using the “T” that you see in your story.

One great thing about Storify is that it turns these posts — be they Tweets or YouTube videos — into rich content. Readers can easily retweet a Twitter post in your story or respond to the use you quote. And, of course, YouTube videos become dynamic and playable and photos that are part of Tweets are pulled right into your story.

Finally, to give your story a little viral push, Storify will (optionally) let the users you quote know that you’ve quoted them.

After that, it’s just a matter of inserting one line of code Javascript into your story’s source code. You can also just link to your story on Storify’s site. Here’s the code from my story if you’d like to give it a shot:

<script src="http://storify.com/adchavez/storify-sample-frogs-for-the-cure-video-goes-viral.js"></script>

Now here’s your payoff for reading this post. As I said earlier, Storify is in private beta, which means you need an invite code to use the service. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered on that. Just click the “Request an invite” button on Storify.com and tell them you heard about the site from SPJ and you’ll get your invite code.

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  • http://dksheets.posterous.com David Sheets

    Great job, Andrew. I love this piece. Just registered with Storify myself last week. I’m looking forward to seeing whether this could be the template for online news reporting.


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