Is Storify the answer?

message board
Photo by Hungarian Snow

Twitter is still evolving but thus far nobody seems to have come up with a clever way of combining the thread of a discussion on Twitter with contributions from elsewhere.

It’s something that has come up in looking after Vital Bradford. I’ve found Twitter an excellent companion to supporting my football club and there’s a very active community with considered opinion and not the sort of stupidity that can plague footballing message boards.

One of the reasons it’s a pleasure is the way you can capture a sense of the match in real-time from all corners of the ground. But even though we are the most followed #bcafc account it’s only a fraction of those who might be interested.

Whatever the subject matter we need to be careful that the coverage of any event doesn’t get stuck inside Twitter. Your updates can get missed by your followers so it’s good to keep them on record somewhere. But it’s actually quite hard to record and curate a specific time-bound period of activity, especially if it involves many voices.

To try and overcome that I’ve used match specific hashtags (#bcvxx when we’re at home and #xxvbc when we’re away) and have then embedded a twitter feed into pages on the site. And to that I’ve added What the Hashtag to build archives of those transcripts.

But it’s a bit clunky and it can be temperamental but most significantly it doesn’t provide a very good way of inviting those who aren’t tweeting to participate or to follow up a thread of discussion later on.

It’s a problem that hashtags struggle with. Whilst you can broadcast an already completed conversation or push self-contained discrete messages elsewhere there’s no magic solution for opening up discussions taking place on Twitter to people who don’t tweet.

Cover it Live does mash together external comments with tweets, can be recorded and then played back later. I think the p2 WordPress theme can probably solve this conundrum but my tinkering got swamped with retweets and didn’t keep responses threaded together.

la cumbre de los fósforos
Photo by yakanama

Maybe Storify can help bridge the gap? I saw it being used somewhere, it piqued my interest so I followed the links, entered my contact details and waited patiently for my invite to arrive. It did earlier today and I’m definitely intrigued by what’s on offer.

You’re able to call up content from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, other Storify stories, Google searches, RSS feeds, Delicious bookmarks, and specific URLs before dragging and dropping the most relevant into your story’s timeline. Once you’ve grouped different elements from different places you can add free text for context and comment.

It has a lot of potential for collecting the many voices talking about a particular issue. It’s given me something to chew over about in relation to covering football matches. I can see it as a great way of summarising an evening spent at @stmikesyork or @cnvrstns. I’m also pretty sure it’s a worthwhile addition to local government’s armoury.

On that final note it was #lgovsm today. I wasn’t able to participate so needed to catch up and thought I’d see what Storify might make of it. The experience of using it was a breeze. Fast, simple, effective. I could filter out retweets and quickly remove anything non-essential tweets. It’s made for a nice, clean transcript embedded below.

What do you think? Has Storify got legs? If it has, how would you use it? If it hasn’t is there something better?


About Benjamin Welby

Hi, I'm Benjamin Welby. I'm a displaced northerner currently living in Croydon, I church with a group of Christians who meet in a Soho nightclub on Wednesdays and I support Bradford City. I've an academic background in History, Politics and International Development. I work for the Government Digital Service but I left my heart in local government. This blog is infrequently updated and may feature any, all or none of these things...

  • Thanks for the nice post about Storify! Did you know you can also add text between these Tweets and other elements by clicking on the T button when you’re editing your story?