I was a big fan of Storify… as were a lot of journalists and news organisations, who regularly used the site between for the four years after it launched in 2011.
The free-to-use social network was simplicity itself, allowing users to aggregate links and social media in one place to create a bigger story. Featuring video from YouTube and images from Flickr too.
It was perfect for big breaking news stories, like election nights, riots and rallies. All relevant material could be collected in one place, with one URL and could in itself be promoted around the web.
It was a simple drag-and-drop exercise, nothing taxing. The running order could also be moved around and text added to add context, or explanation. We created Storify’s from our social media seminars at World Travel Market in both 2013 and 2015 (not sure what happened in 2014?!)
I had cause to revisit the WTM 2015 collection today and they haven’t aged well. While the tweets are still visible, the video links no longer work, nor do links to our WordPress site. Avatars and thumbnails have also dropped off. It doesn’t look great.
Storify was bought by comment platform Livefyre in 2012, which supported Storify well and which – in March, 2016 – bought out Storify 2, aimed at large publishing outfits.
It was a game-changer. Storify 2 allowed several people to edit at once, as with Google Docs. User permissions could be restricted and posts could be scheduled. New social media streams were added and the story code published, so it could be embedded into pages. But instead of it being free, prices started at $30,000 according to Venturebeat.
Those prices attracted Adobe Systems, which moved quickly and bought Livefyre in October, 2016. From being a simple, free aggregator site, Storify had hit the Big Time.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that a few snags and glitches slipped in along the way; some content went walkabout and photos were dropped. It’s a shame that my Storify collection of 13 stories is now redundant.
Today, when teaching journalism students at University of Westminster, we looked for an alternative, and we came up with Scoop. Seven students aggregated a Charlie Gard story using the same techniques as Storify: searching by name, hashtag, dragging and dropping and re-ordering.
At first sight, it looks more a home for social media marketers than journalists, but it’s a good (free) alternative. Clearly, you’re being pushed to ‘take a step up’ to the Pro version (from $11 a month) which gives unlimited stories and stats, for a starter.
I’ll stick around and play but is it the only alternative? One site, Onaplatterogold, rates Scoop No.1 but lists nine others – including dear old Flipboard which I used to love.
There clearly is still a demand for simple aggregated sites, although the powerful professional options offered to marketers by Scoop look very interesting there is still another player in town. Storify itself.
I only just noticed, after the class had finished, that Storify does still offer a free version. Indeed, it has the added social streams to search, including Tumblr.
But… it couldn’t connect to my Instagram account (now required). And then there were all those broken links to my previous stories. I’m sorry Storify. You’ve been scooped.