One of the most common concerns I hear from educators when we’re discussing using social media tools with youth is the sheer number of sites out there. Using new media for information gathering requires patience. It can be really hard to make sense of how an event or topic is being played out across the major platforms: tracking topics across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, and blogs requires a real desire to see what’s happening in real time. Even if you’re a seasoned web browser tab jockey or use a social media aggregator like FriendFeed, events in a timeline without context or analysis aren’t being displayed to their best advantage.
Storify is an online platform that allows users to bring together disparate entries from various new media platforms and curate a story.
It’s easy to get started; all you need is a Twitter account. Once you log in and click the “create a story” link, you’re presented with a very intuitive interface with two basic sections. There’s a “research” section that makes it simple to search Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Storify, Google, RSS, or manually insert a weblink. (If you delve into the settings, it’s also possible to enable SlideShare, Causes, and Audioboo as well.) Once you’ve found something you want to add to your story, just drag it over to the timeline on the right side of the screen.
Text can be added in-between as many story elements as you like. This means that you can contextualize, analyze, and comment on the content, which adds a depth to the service Storify offers. This could be a great way to engage youth with providing opinions on current events and may possibly provide a more natural entree into the world of news analysis and commentary. It also makes it very easy to put different points of view right next to each other, inviting the audience to draw their own conclusions. Because all story elements are linked directly from their original source, they’re always properly attributed. (But it’s invariably a good idea to talk about the importance of citing your sources!)
Once the story is published, it can be Tweeted (with automatic short URL, and shout-outs to some of the featured content creators) or sent to your Facebook, WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr, or MailChimp page.
Sample Classroom & Youth Program Applications
- All SubjectsâExperts in the Field: Each student chooses an expert in the field of study who uses social media regularly and curates a new media collection story. Students should share why they chose a particular expert and discuss the works they post to the story. Periodically, the class should discuss new findings, events, and conferences as reported in their stories.
- All SubjectsâResearch: Students choose a research topic related to the content area being studied in class and keep an updated Storify page that serves as a class resource.
- Social Studies: Have students choose a current event to track in social media. Work together to develop a resource evaluation rubric, and require students to explain why they chose to add each source to their story.
- Price Structure: Free
- Very easy to use; excellent user interface.
- Simple to send stories to other media platforms.
- Stories can be reorganized at will.
- Still growing a user base.
Do you use Storify with your youth? Do you have any activity suggestions, tips, or tricks to share? Comment below or contact us!