After my post about perceptions versus reality in the classroom a few weeks ago, several folks wrote to ask about Storify. I’ve been playing around with Storify for a few months now, since the very end of its private beta, and I like the way I can weave tweets, links, videos, and other media into one coherent storyline. The interface is as simple as it could be: on the left side, you can browse through content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google search, RSS feeds, or by entering links directly. For the latter three kinds of content, Storify will attempt to create an icon and headline for the items you find. For social media and YouTube items, Storify will embed the entire tweet or video into your timeline. To build your timeline, you just drag items from the left side of the interface to the timeline on the right. You can move things around as you want, and add intervening blocks of text—headlines, descriptions, etc.
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At the bottom of this post I’ve embedded a story I created in Storify for our English undergrads here at St. Norbert College who are considering graduate school. I used Storify because it allowed me to do more than list a series of links to relevant resources. Storify made it easy to contextualize those links with the advice of academics from around the country, and from a range of institutions—and with a bit of humor through the Simpsons clip. Instead of presenting only my opinion about graduate school—they get enough of that in person—they could hear from the many smart folks in my twitter community, which I think lent more authority to the advice.
I do wish Storify was more flexible. I wish I could customize the look of the timelines more than the service currently allows. This one seems very simple: but I wish I could rename or edit the titles that Storify imports from URLs. Right now Storify will title some links “untitled,” and the only way to address this is to add a headline above the “untitled” link. I would love to see a few different templates for presentation, as well—right now users are limited to the vertical timeline metaphor. These are mostly quibbles, though, and I expect Storify will expand its options as the service grows.
If you need to tell stories that incorporate a mix of links, videos, and social media, give Storify a try. Sharing your Storify stories is as easy as putting them together. You can send folks to the Storify site, share it through Twitter or Facebook, or grab the embed code and incorporate your story on another website.
As promised, here is my grad school story: