Storify and getting lost in the flood

To the inexperienced user, Storify can be a little overwhelming.

Or at least that’s what I found last weekend when I used Storify to create a recap post about the Fluff Festival in Somerville, Mass. I had used Storify once before, but consider myself a rookie with the platform.

Though I recognize the potential of Storify in journalism, I think there’s a learning curve, and I experienced a few challenges in using it.

When I initially searched for tweets about Fluff Festival in Storify, I was deluged by content. Many people at the event had used the words “Fluff Festival” in tweets, and I was a bit lost in the flood of posts.

It’s certainly nice to have options when deciding what to include and not include in a Storify. But there’s a limit to this, and the selection process can become intimidating.

I didn’t start my Storify post until the very end of the Fluff Festival, however, so it may have been much easier had I been periodically keeping track of the event through the day.

Ethical concerns were also an issue for me using Storify. Initially, I created a post without any note that I had not attended the festival. When I scanned my Storify, I realized it was not clear if I actually had been at the event, so I put a line in the description box of my Storify post which explained that I had not attended the festival.

A positive aspect of Storify is that it makes attribution clear. Each inserted post from Twitter, Facebook, or the Internet links to an outside page, and users who created the content are clearly listed. It was somewhat disconcerting, however, that I didn’t know any of these people, but I was still using their posts in something I was publishing.

Because I was not at the event, I also felt uncertain as to whether or not my Storify actually captured what Fluff Festival was like. I don’t think this post could stand on its own as adequate event coverage.

If I had gone to Fluff Festival, I think it would have been much easier to create this Storify. But I also probably would have covered it traditionally in a news story, and this post would then just be an accompanying feature in my coverage.

This is what I believe the best use of Storify is, a multimedia flourish that accompanies an article.

All a user has to do to create a post is drag and drop, which makes Storify seem deceptively simple. But it’s not that easy. I struggled to write my own text in between the tweets and images, and I think my transitions are short and mechanical.

This is not to say the platform has no use, however. Storify definitely facilitates the process of curating content because it groups posts from multiple social media websites in one place. And the end result looks nice if there is a mix of images, text, and perhaps even video.

Like most things, though, I think Storify takes some getting used to, and I hope to get better at working with the platform through trial-and-error.

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