In the past the record of an events was kept in newspapers, magazines and letters. which are all semi-permanent. Today however events are recorded not only by newspapers and mainstream media, but also by normal people who are not only observers but actual participants in the event. The first report of the airplane landing on the Hudson, was a tweet sent out from someone, who just happened to be in the area. Many Americans first heard about the Chinese earthquake through twitter. The problem is that tweets are by nature fleeting, they roll down a virtual page and disappear, there is nothing permanent about them. So the question becomes first how do we collect this information. Then how do we separate the information about an event that is important from that which is not. Finally how do we organize it. Another words how do you curate it. This is a problem that sites like Storify, Datasift and Curated.by are trying to solve. I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to try both Curated.by and also Storify this past week. I decided to use them to try to curate what was happening at Techcrunch Disrupt, where they were both being introduced. However, because Storify is farther along in its development it I ended up using it and will review it.
Storify is available at Storify.com it is invite only beta. Once you receive your invite code, you can use Twitter to log in. The initial page is very simple it has your name and then the line “tell a story” with a plus next too it, click on the plus and it brings you to page where you can add the information. On the far left hand side there are tabs for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, Google and a link symbol. Across the top are indicators, like timeline, search and favorites, these indicators change depending on what you are accessing. Once you find a post, picture or video that you like you drag it over to the right hand side. If you want to add a note then just click on the little T above it. You can then rearrange them how you like. Storify also offer a bookmarklet, so if you find an article that you want to add to the record just hit the bookmarklet and its added.
So far I like what Storify has done, but there are somethings I wish they would add or change. I would like to be able to take someone else curation and then add and subtract from it to make it my own. I want to be able to curate directly from a desktop application such as Seesmic or Tweetdeck. If that is not possible, then at least let me curate directly from Twitter, surprisingly this is one thing that Curate.by does already. Although I like the bookmarklet, the one thing I don’t like about it is when you click on the edit button within it, it takes you back to the Storify website, I wish it would let you edit within the pop up instead. It would be nice if the thread was on autosave, as it is now if you have to close down the page you have to manually save it. Another problem I ran into is the connection between Storify and Twitter went down at times, another reason to allow curation directly from Twitter. The final problem I ran into is the lack of date, time and location stamps on some post. I want to know if someone is actually at an event or not. I may still add the post if they are not, but I would add a note too it. I know this isn’t something that Storify can solve but it is still a problem.
Despite these short comings I think Storify is heading in the right direction. Is this something that you are going to use everyday, no. However if you want to keep a record of an event that you are observing or participating in, this is a nice way to do it. I will continue to use it and Curate.by to see how they improve overtime.