Playing with Storify

30 Sep

The very interesting social-media curation tool Storify was released in private beta on Tuesday at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference. It neatly twists the idea behind Flipboard.

Flipboard automatically generates a list of stories that might interest you, based on links suggested by people you follow on Twitter or your Facebook friends. Storify reverses the flow – it allows you to easily curate a list of readings you recommend, based on your own (or others’) social-media postings.

It’s still early-release stuff – the UI, while clean, is a bit obscure (especially the flow to save, then edit, a Storify “story.”) And, like all new tools, it’ll take a few weeks for the collective “us” to figure out how to best use it. But it’s a neat mashup of technology and journalism, and it’s worth watching.

Why? Tools like this are part of the emerging news ecosystem – how can we tap the experts out there to surface smart stories on important niche topics? It’s a problem – and opportunity – my skunk-works team at PBS is thinking about a lot.

A sample – which I ginned up in all of three minutes based on the intertwined riffs of newspaper brain drains and the reinvention of what Washington journalism can be:

OK, so a raw feed of pertinent tweets isn’t a “story” in a traditional sense. But marry this with a quick text introduction (which I, um, was a bit too lazy to write) and you’ve got the makings of useful information.

A side note: The smart folks at Storify deserve all the kudos. But I’ll point out that my friends at the Knight Fellowships at Stanford can claim godparent status: co-founder Burt Herman spent the last year as a Knight Fellow, thinking about ways to use technology to reinvent journalism.)

And a big hat-tip to MediaBug‘s Scott Rosenberg for the blog post that tipped me to Storify.

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