Karl Roche

family, cycling and communications



Making a story never got so easy: Storify

One of my favourite tools at the moment is Storify, which if you haven’t come across it yet, is a simple way to search and gather tweets, photos, blogs, podcasts and all sorts of things into a lovely sharable format.

Image representing Storify as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Since we started on Smarter Computing I’ve been playing around with Storify as a way to highlight key moments at events such as Pulse, zSummit and announcements such as this story on IBM SmartCloud.

It’s integration into things like twitter is great, in fact you will need a twitter ID to use it. However, it lacks the ability for me to post it here in WordPress. Partly that is down to WordPress not supporting scripts, but also I think it would be pretty easy for Storify to implement an iframe solution for extra portability.

Stories can be emailed but this week I’ve not been able to do this and there are some issues I find if I use it in Chrome.

Having said that this has huge potential and even in its current state (still beta of course) it provides a great platform for a wide range of possible uses, not least live blogging and live event reporting as pages are update dynamically as you would expect. A handy toolbar shortcut allows you to add content you find to current or new stories.

There are just under a dozen platforms you can search through including a place to create an embedded link from any url. The Twitter search is really great as you can select to find only those tweets with images, links or remove retweets. This makes it easy to create a picture story (assuming you find some) of the event or whatever you want to report on.

Finally you can easily add text between the posts you find so that you can create section headings or explain what people are seeing.

What I have found though is that people do like to share these. Some of my most retweeted and visited pages contain Storify stories. I’ve also started to use these internally at IBM on our intranet adding a new dimension to coverage.

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So WordPress have set the challenge for it’s users to start posting a blog every day or every week.

Not sure if this is because people are posting less in general on blogs, resorting to micro-blogging or just as a result of what the poll revealed…. people are always full of good intentions at the start of the year.

In unrelated events I was asked to put together a deck on getting started in blogging aimed mainly at a technical crowd. It’s a work in progress at the moment but I’ve added it to Slideshare.

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Can blogging help you?

I noticed this tweet by Andy today, it’s something¬† that people have been talking about for a while, mostly since the rise of Twitter.

In a recent unscientific poll, carried out by myself, I struggled to find bloggers of a particular kind at work as many had said they had basically given it a rest for a while, in favor of micro-blogging only. We have also seen the tremendous rise of Tumblr, which although a blogging platform lends itself more to re-blogging or sharing information you find. In my mind these are possibly closer fits to Delicious and Digg than blogging.

So what is the point of blogging?

Communication obviously, but also personal development. Turns out that young people are better at communication than us old farts. Stanford conducted a study that found writing for a large audience, rather than for one, is a great way to develop writing skills. Penelope Trunk aims her comments squarely at Gen-Y but if you look towards the technical community they have (of all ages) been doing this since computers could talk to each other. Which brings me back to Andy, who is part of IBMs technical community. I don’t know Andy’s age but I’m guessing it’s closer to Gen-X than Y.

I know for a fact that the Gen-Y thing is just a convenient way to group people for this purpose and nothing else. It certainly isn’t a done deal on anyone’s part and shouldn’t be used to say, “I’m too old for this stuff.” Actually the other day, someone was asking me (a Gen-Y) about lists in Twitter when someone on the other side of the divide piped up saying that they had just joined Facebook.

Like most things, being good at it is essentially down to practice. You may never have 40,000 readers but you will become a better writer and better at managing the information that is available to us all.


Anyway… blogging can be useful in a number of ways, but you may not be sure how to start blogging. From a technical point of view, don’t even go there. If you can’t manage to use WordPress, blogger, tumblr or similar services than you may as well shut down your email client too. and start pushing trolleys at Tesco. Again Penelope has some great advice on blogging.

My 1-2-3.. start reading a select bunch of blogs, comment on those and then write your own.

Otherwise you can stick to reading The Daily Mail and Daily Express where it’s all cancer and royal weddings.

And while my 2 year old is using me as a climbing frame at this precise moment a word on typos which you’ll probably find a few of on my blog that has considerably less the 40,000 subscribers.

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First voice to post

Found out that the formatting with Zemanta doesn’t work well, in fact you add any content to this and it messes it up enough to stop the audio working.

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