The Skinny on Storify

By Natalie Benson, Marketing & Social Media Manager, Colorado Public Television
As we have all come to learn, ordinary people from around the world have become an integral part of breaking news and event coverage. Today it isn't just about creating content; it’s about curating content.

Storify is a unique tool, similar to a blogging platform, that gives you the tools to tell your story, and then makes it easy for you to weed through other people’s stories, posts, tweets, pictures, or videos, in order to pull in authentic sources offering different perspectives, thus making your story more credible.

Not only does Storify allow for more robust coverage of an event than you could accomplish on your own, it affords you the opportunity to give your story that magic social touch. Your friends get quoted, you get quoted, letting your story become the public’s story, and giving it momentum to go viral.

The Facts and Features:

When you create a story, Storify provides formatting tools (bold, italic, hyperlink) for customization. Hashtags work the same as they do on Twitter or Pinterest. If you want something to be searchable, just hashtag it!

The key differentiator in this platform lies in the ability to pull in content from a host of social media sources. Storify lets you search topics/people/stories from Storify itself, PLUS from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Google, Tumblr, Breaking News, Chute, SoundCloud, Disqus, GetGlue, StockTwits, RSS, and Embed URL (which lets you link to any site). You can then add that content to your story by pasting text or images into your “Storypad”, using a “Bookmarklet” that is easy to install in your browser’s Bookmarks Menu.

Once you are done with your story, publish it, then share, share, share!

With whom, you might ask? Great question! Storify gives you a number of options for sharing your story directly from the site: Notifications of quotation, email, direct links to other social media sites, embed code, etc...

It’s worth noting that you are able to “Unpublish” or EDIT a story at any time. If you are covering breaking news, get your story published right away with what you know, and then update it as more information and facts become available.

As hinted above, Storify is its own social network. You not only create an account to write your stories, but you can also get involved in the Storify community - subscribe to other people’s accounts, read their stories, comment, and network, to your heart’s content!

Another important feature is that Storify tallies how many people have read each story, including those who “Like” it, giving you specific data on the reach of your story.

Finally, if Storify raises concerns for you about authorship or rights, it does a fairly good job of covering its bases. Two factors worth highlighting -
  1. Storify automatically sends any person quoted in your story a notification that they were included. In that notification, they are given the opportunity to remove themselves if they choose.
  2. Any publicly available information used in your story is always clickable back to its original source.
Room for Improvement?

There are only a couple of places that I think need attention.

First, and what seems obvious, is the fact that there is no direct upload option - you can’t include pictures that have not been published on the Web. But this shouldn’t deter you from using Storify, because you can work around this in many ways.For the Brand Masters session at the PBS Annual Meeting, I created an album on my station’s Facebook page, uploaded the pictures I wanted to use, and pulled them into Storify.

Secondly, there is a little awkwardness with finding people you might want to subscribe to in the Storify community. After doing some research, it seems the best way to find the Storify Superstars is to start on the homepage with the “Featured Users” and “Popular Now” stories. Subscribe to those authors, and then check what authors they follow, as well as who follows them.

As Storify grows and gets more traction and users, it is only natural that they will address any current issues or ones unforeseen and make the necessary improvements, but in the meantime, now that you have the skinny on Storify, get to Storifying! 

Has your #localPBS station used Storify? Tell us about your experience. Please post questions or comments below.


  1. Thank you, Natalie (and Shane for pointing to this.) I appreciate the explanation.

  2. great info.Thanks for helping us sail the storify seas.