September 28, 2010

Storify: Make stories using social media

Will it improve storytelling or lead to Frankenstories?

David SparkI’m at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco reporting for Yammer.

Almost a full year ago I wrote an analyst report entitled “Real-Time Search and Discovery of the Social Web” (get your copy of the 20-page PDF), and I argued that one of the failures of the value of the real-time web is the lack of editors monitoring the data and then republishing it in a digested form. While the volume of content being created is phenomenal, and the different search and discovery tools all provide amazing value, what’s lacking is the ability to truly make sense of all this content by someone who truly knows the category.

At TechCrunch Disrupt, I saw one possible solution with Storify, a web-based application that lets you search real-time content and add it very easily to your blog post. At the show, I was sitting in between two fellow journalists who were completely wowed by the product and immediately sent a link of it out to all their colleagues. They were both excited and scared. Will it improve journalists’ ability to create content or will it give power to non-content creators to create half-assed stories or, as one reviewer on stage called it, “a Frankenstory”?

Watch my demo and interview with Burt Herman, CEO of Storify, as he shows off the product. Continue reading

August 12, 2010

Easily turn your blog into an ebook

anthologizeChris AbrahamMy friend Effie Kapsalis helped make something very, very cool. Something brilliant, actually. Something you need to check out: Anthologize.

A brilliant idea is defined by how hard you slap yourself in the forehead, saying, “gee, that’s awesome — but so obvious, why didn’t I think of that?” Anthologize is that simple, elegant, “it never occurred to me” idea that I have been waiting for forever: a WYSIWYG way of drag-and-dropping together a linear narrative out of what is often an amalgam of reverse-chronological, jumbled-together, blog posts. Export it into an online, web-accessible “book” or even a proper ebook in the PDF, ePUB or TEI formats that can be exported and popped into your favorite ebook reader like the Amazon Kindle or Sony eReader.

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August 6, 2009

Tombstones and milestones


Britannica, the end of an era and the evolution of authority

Christopher S. RollysonMy family lives on Lake Shore Drive, just east of Lakeview, a Chicago neighborhood that is known for mobility in every dimension. Consequently, one is accustomed to seeing all manner of abandoned flotsam and jetsam along Aldine and Roscoe avenues, even when not really paying attention. Many a stroll presents once-significant objects that don’t make the move, their value deemed less than the cost of moving or even donating them. Returning from the neighborhood grocer recently, I saw this paragon of authority standing tall, perhaps not realizing its new status.


As I approached, I expected the spines of this tower to reveal some Reader’s Digest collector’s edition. However, as I approached, I thought I recognized something else (click to enlarge). In disbelief, the familiar spines came into a focus that didn’t lie: the Encyclopedia Britannica, once the dream of families and a jealously hoarded jewel of libaries’ reference collections, was marooned by the roadside, apparently too worthless to merit space on the bookshelf any longer.

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