The web is the largest consumption platform of its kind ever. But think about it…it is also probably the largest platform for creators, with memes, blogs, podcasts, videos and so much more being shared every day. You no longer need to huddle at the town square or the local coffee shop if you want to tell a story. Take it online. Storytelling is undergoing a makeover with new digital tools. If interactivity in storytelling is the spice, the services showcased below are just a few that are pouring it on like Indian curry.
These services aren’t about self-expression alone. They can be uniquely used to create compelling news projects or educational content. If you are an aspiring journalist, earn your badge by walking the beat as a citizen journalist.
Create your own interactive news projects with these services and put it out for the world. Here are five ‘news’ platforms for you to exploit:
Want to create a short interactive show of your own? Create a Qwiki. Qwiki describes itself as a media creation tool that helps you bring together pictures, videos, infographics and your own voice to create an interactive story. Qwiki gives you all the tools you need via the Qwiki Creator. And you need just a browser to start off. You can even put together a business presentation or your own online fashion show. Or how about an instructional video – there’s real potential there for creating multimedia teaching aids quickly and for free. You can easily share your Qwiki or embed it on your blog and build up dedicated channels.
Showcasing Qwiki: An ABC News Project
ABC News has taken to Qwiki in a big way with its own channel – ABC News Qwiki. ABC News strings together images, videos, Google Maps (sometimes), text, and audio-video narration to create 60 second news capsules that are easy to digest and share. As the Qwiki progresses, embedded links give you the option to go to more detailed news coverage of what you are viewing on the Qwiki.
You can curate from your own social media, or create fresh ‘stories’ using Twitter feeds, Facebook streams, YouTube videos, Instagram, images, and text, and present it as a smooth narrative or a timeline. The embeddable stories can be used to cover any topic of human interest, and a browse through what’s popular on Storify reveals just that. Storify was ranked among the 50 best websites by Time magazine in 2011. Many news agencies have taken to Storify to present their news and take advantage of the social web. Take a look at the sections on Storify. Last year, the London riots were instantly covered on Storify by CBC and it went viral.
Showcasing Storify: The Washington Post
It’s one of the innovative ways Washington Post is getting social with its readers (and also grabbing new readers). The Washington Post has nearly 92 stories on its page on Storify. As you can see, they cover topical news like Obama’s backing of gay marriage to offbeat memes like – how cold is your coffee.
Meograph is another digital storytelling platform that allows you to automatically create, watch, and share interactive multimedia stories. It brings a slight difference as it used Google Earth to create context of location – where and when the news occurred. This can give your news project a geo-spatial feel. Meograph is still not open to the general public, but when it goes live, you will be able to browse news and user created stories over time and space thanks to the Google Earth part of it. Meograph is expected to go live this July.
Showcasing Meograph: The Trayvon Martin Case
The demo on the site shows a news report of the fatal Trayvon Martin shooting Sanford, Florida, United States which grabbed headlines in the country for its racist overtones. You can go through the news story as a timeline by playing ahead to different dates and events that shaped the case. Other news items like The Arab Spring and Whitney Houston’s life are also available for view as demos on the right.
ShortForm is one of the easiest (and one of the more attractive) ways to create your own video channel on the web. It turns you into a VJ (Video Jockey) by mixing videos of YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and College Humor and sharing them in a particular order. Your channel can be shared as an embed, and played back on any medium that supports web video. Browse the channel of your interest from the Channel Guide where all channels are arranged in categories.
Showcasing Shortform: Space Explorations
Space Explorations is a channel with 89 curated videos on our developments in space science and cutting edge discoveries. It is an educational and entertaining channel as you can sit back and watch it like a stream.
Paper.li is your own personal newspaper. The only difference is that all the content is curated from online sources and not by a team of journalists. You can curate news on topics you like, and distribute it to your friends or work force. You can auto-populate your newspaper with content searched across your social networks like Twitter and Facebook, RSS feed, videos, and the web. You can put in search keywords and hashtags too. Paper.li gives you ten information streams with customization options that let you pick and choose topics. You can also use a browser bookmarklet to pick up stories from the web. Just like a newspaper, you can set a publishing schedule for your edition.
Showcasing Paper.li: The Robert Scoble Daily
This curated Paper.li newspaper is one of the staff picks. The tech newspaper is a perfect example of using all the social streams that Paper.li provides from current news picks to hashtags, videos, and even Instagram pictures. Robert Scoble creates an interactive experience that is completely automated.
Interactive multimedia projects using these five platforms can give a new spin to social storytelling. Straight up it enables small content creators to publish news or other information in an entirely new way. If these services bring in monetization later, a small content creator can also look to earn money with it. But more importantly, these short embeddable formats are news clips of a different kind – doing their job of grabbing our limited attentions. Do you think so? Do you have any other interactive social storytelling service in mind that we haven’t mentioned here?
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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