My final assignment for Donna Alexander’s class is a critical review of Storify. Storify is a social network service that allows people to create and share stories with others closely using different social media websites.
My first impression of Storify was that it was simple and easy to use. After signing up – a simple e-mail and password registration – I was brought to the opening screen of my profile. On my profile there was already a draft to help me get started, in this draft Storify had laid out the basic guidelines to using the website. It told me how to to search and add what is called sources to my stories. You can use these sources to link any research you have done into your story. This manual also told me how to embed and publish my stories. Storify taught me how to edit, update and share my stories as well as their ‘notify’ feature.
Storify’s sources are a feature that allows you to do all your research alongside your post as you are writing it. It also allows you to post these links with your stories so your readers have easy and immediate access when reading your story. Theses ‘sources’ include twitter, google+, GIF, Storify and YouTube. I found these sources amazing – when they worked. Many times the results given were not what I was looking for or expecting so I was better off searching as I normally would. The idea is very good but it needs a small bit of work.
Storify says that any of their stories are easily embeddable so you can post your work in many different places such as your blogs. When I tried to embed my Storify essay onto my WordPress it just wouldn’t co-operate. This may be a case of a bad workman blaming his tools for his mistakes but I simply couldn’t make it work. It appeared on my blog as a horrible and ugly html block with several links. I like the idea but I could have just linked the essay to my WordPress (as I did) to do the same thing.
My story was saved as a draft while I was writing it so I could keep going away from it and when I returned it was easily accessed. Storify also kept auto saving my work which was very helpful. When my post was a draft only I could see it which allowed me to keep tweaking small things until I was ready to post. When publishing the essay, it was made immediately public and easy to find on my account. I could still edit the post once it was up which I found brilliant.
Editing and Updating
When writing my post, at first I found the editing aspect of rearranging paragraphs a little annoying. It took a little bit of time to actually get used to the fact that every time I hit enter a new paragraph was started. This also made copying and pasting my essay in to a word document a task. Once I got used to reordering the elements I quiet liked it especially when rearranging media elements and links. The click and drag works well and it helps that the elements are so simple to delete. The fact that I can keep editing my post even after it’s published is amazing, I can simply rearrange paragraphs or add new aspects i seen too late into my story.
In this draft message, Storify mentions a feature called ‘Notify’. The idea behind it is that any one who is quoted or used in your story can be notified and given a link to view your work. This idea is a very good one – in theory. I wasn’t notified or asked if I wanted to notify those after publishing my work. This idea was to help your stories spread and create coverage for your work by sharing. I would have loved to use this feature as I think a collaboration would have been nice as well as a bit of feedback.
Some other features that weren’t mentioned in the draft was the choices to share your story using twitter, Facebook and google+. This is a good way to get the story out there and share it with the world. You can also export your story in different forms such as HTML, JSON, PDF and XML. This is a very useful feature for advanced users especially when using technology to print your work or open it across many different platforms. You can also change the view of your story to a grid, list or slideshow. I particularly liked the slideshow as it could very easily be used as a presentation form. Storify also gave you the option of making the story private and also unpublishing your work (reverting it to a draft).
When going to write my first post i found the layout to be a little complicated, maybe it was due to my inexperience with the site. Overall, I liked the site and I would easily consider it to replace other sites I used such as WordPress if all aspects worked perfectly. The ideas on Storify are good but they are very similar to other blogging sites. The search method to look at others stories was very good and easy to use. Maybe I’m biased after using WordPress so long now but I would give Storify as a tool a 7/10.