A quick tutorial in how to use Storify to curate, compile and compose a research-based blog post for those of us without a journalism degree
When a story hits my news feed more than once, I tend to want to look at it from a few different angles before forming an opinion. Check the Twitter stream for a hashtag. Do a Google search to see which mainstream news outlets have something to say on the matter and which bloggers have researched and weighed in. Then I'll form my own opinion and construct a blog post with links to relevant content and curated photos and Tweets to support my opinion.
And frankly, that's a lot of work. Too much, quite frequently--there are many topics I'd love to blog about but don't have the time and focus to research and piece together a useful and informative report about.
When I do, Storify is the tool I use to get my butt in gear to begin sifting through the content and formulating a coherent blog post. Storify is kind of like what we used to do with notecards: write salient references, knowledge bits, quotes and the like on cards and arrange them to create a nice, structured five-paragraph essay. Here's a quick view of how I use Storify to curate and compile research on a trend or topic.
Step 1: Discovery and research. The first step upon discovery of a topic of interest through the RSS reader, stream or the like is to track, tag, highlight and bookmark the best information. Diigo is a social bookmarking service (like Del.icio.us; I switched from the former when it threatened to close and haven't switched back) that offers a Firefox toolbar app for easy bookmarking, highlighting, note-taking and sharing. Highlight quotes and key points. Make notes on your opinions, reactions or snark in the notes section. If you bookmark a lot, save to a list specifically for topics you intend to write about.
Step 2: More research. Check additional channels for information on the topic. Topsy is great for real-time (Twitter) search and a good tool for discovering recent, relevant posts on a search term. Repeat Step 1 for any posts, photos or Tweets that reveal additional information not already discovered. If there are Tweets you might want to cite to support your point, Favorite them. In this case, as I'm researching a post on how non-designers and crafters are using Pinterest, I found a few interesting examples.
Step 3: Log in to Storify and begin a new story. Try entering a working headline and story description; it can be edited later and can help with focus for the article.
Step 4: Drag and drop curated content. While Storify allows the user to search for tagged content on Twitter, Facebook, Google, Flickr, YouTube and Instagram, I prefer to use my own vetted and annotated content and take advantage of Storify's easy drag-and-drop drafting feature. Select Embed URL and paste the link from one of the bookmarked articles.
Drag the link to your story, add your own insights and any quotes from the bookmarked content.
Step 5: Add real-time content and photos. To add Tweets from your Favorites stream, click the Twitter icon in Storify's media tab, type in your user name and select Favorites.
Any Tweets favorited from the Topsy search can be dragged and dropped directly into the story:
Step 6: Edit and post. Drag content in and out of the story; streamline; edit; save. When it's polished, publish and post to your Posterous or blog. I've found that once I've begun dragging content in and out of the story, the commentary writes itself and my thoughts crystallize. In terms of posting, I find publishing the entire Storify to my Typepad blog slows down the site's download significantly, so I simply cut and paste the content by hand, adding links and photos as needed.
Other Storify fans--how do you use Storify? What is your favorite feature?