“We believe that a revolution is long overdue in online publishing, and are creating a platform that fully embraces the interactive nature of the social, real-time Web,” the company stated in its announcement.
Storify is, indeed, a refreshingly new approach to the news with a platform that allows users to build stories out of tweets and other social media content, adding brief headlines to create context and flow. The platform supports Twitter, Tumblr, and Posterous.
Social media storytelling is becoming an interesting new angle for many startups, including Memolane and Qwiki. Memolane allows users to create personal timelines based on their social media updates and posts, while Qwiki allows users to contribute information for a multimedia encyclopedia.
Storify was co-founded by Burt Herman, who also co-founded Hacks/Hackers, an organization made up of journalists and tech gurus. Herman was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, where he co-founded a workshop on Redesigning Journalism at the Institute of Design. He also spent 12 years as a journalist working for the Associated Press.
The company’s other co-founder, Xavier Damman, created Publitweet in 2009 with the aim of mainstreaming the scattered voices on social media, a vision that essentially became the foundation of Storify.
The name “Storify” comes from Herman’s time at the AP, when he said editors would frequently send out requests to writers to create a story with the line: “Can u pls storify?” It also happens to be an obsolete word that used to mean “to form or tell stories.”
The company launched in private beta in September and has since garnered 4.5 million hits across the Web, and among the company’s beta users are major news organizations, companies, and bloggers, including NPR, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, Al Jazeera, Samsung Mobile, and Danny Sullivan, among others. Businesses can also use Storify to create narratives based on tweets and other social media blurbs posted about their products, or any average Web user can use Storify to create stories about their own experiences.
The site will remain in invite-only private beta for now, but it is expected to go live within the next few months.
Image source: Storify.com