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create web storyI did my first newspaper clipping back in my elementary school years. I don’t remember what the topic was, but I remember that it was a great way to focus on a story out of everything else that filled the newspapers in those days. It was like arranging pieces of a puzzle to form a complete image.

Now with the Internet at our disposal, we are constantly bombarded by stories and news from all over the world. It’s becoming harder and harder to make sense of everything. There are too many sources with too many elements that compiling them into one big picture is really difficult.  Storify tries to change that. It’s is a web tool that will help you collect texts, photos, videos, and everything else from the web, into your own versions of media-rich stories. Storify will also help you share your stories to your friends and families.

In The Beginning, There’s The Sign Up

When you arrive at the site, you could start by looking at stories created by others. There are the “Featured Stories” and “Popular Stories Today” sections. After looking at those stories, you will learn what Storify is all about and be ready to create your own web story.

create web story

Currently, Storify is in private beta. To sign up, you will need an invite key. Luckily, the developer of Storify has been kind enough to provide MakeUseOf readers with the key (Thanks Burt!). Go to the site and enter sxsw.

internet story book

There’s no limit to the number of invites, but it might expire in the future. Even though the developer has promised to keep the invite key alive long enough for us, you might want to sign up as soon as possible.

After entering the code, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account.

internet story book

Then you are ready to create your first story.

internet story book

Start Building The Stories

Just like newspaper clippings, you are going to find similar news from different newspapers, then clip and collect them into one binder. The differences are, we are using the web and social media as sources instead of physical printed newspapers – and there are no scissors and glue involved.

create a story web

Write down some keywords of the topic for your story in the search field. Clicking the “Search” button will bring you results from many kinds of sources. We are not talking about traditional kinds of sources here. Aside from web, news and images from within Google search and RSS Feeds, there is also Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and many more.

create a story web

Drag and drop the “clips” from the search results into the clipboard to build your story. You can further enhance it by adding texts between clips. You can also give your story a title, a short general description, and a heading image.

create a story web

Keep your story as a draft if you still want to tinker with it later, or hit the “Publish Story” button if you are done with the building process.

Your published stories will appear on the main page of your Storify account. You can edit or remove them if you want to.

04a Published Story

On the top right corner of every story, there’s the option to share it via Twitter or email. You can also embed the story to any webpage or blog after generating the embed code.

04b Share n Publish

You can connect Storify with other sites to enable auto-publish. Click the “edit” button to add the sites. You can access this option from the settings.

Similar social functions are available at the bottom of every story.

04c Going Social

Clicking on the “Settings” on the top right corner of the page will give you several options. One of them is the ability to choose story “Sources“. Adding or removing sources is only a matter of dragging and dropping items to or from the sources box.

05a Settings Sources

Another option under “Settings” is “Publishing“. If you want to quickly publish your stories to your blogs or websites, you can add them here.

05b Publish To

For example, if you want to add your WordPress blog as one of the publishing locations, enter your blog information, and click “Save“.

05c Configure WP

Then the blog (and other publishing locations) will appear as quick publish options next to every story.

09c Auto Publish

If you want to add the ability to quickly “storify” any webpage that you encounter, you could install the “Storify This” bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmark bar. This bookmarklet is available on the lower part of the main page of your Storify account.

create web story

Storify is a great way to quickly create a web story from every imaginable source. So far it has already helped many traditional journalists in their research, and it could also be a great tool for common bloggers like you and me. What do you think of Storify? Share your thoughts in the comment below.

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  1. Janice
    March 30, 2011 at 4:09 am

    This is just the coolest thing and Makeuseof rocks! I really like your new site look too.


    • Aibek
      March 30, 2011 at 5:27 am

      thanks Janice :-)