November 19, 2012

Meograph: Multimedia storytelling made easy


Misha Leybovich, co-founder of Meograph, an interactive storytelling tool (Photo by JD Lasica).

Start-up wants to democratize the creation of interactive video storytelling

Target audience: Journalists, educators, tourism professionals, broadcast news professionals, businesses, nonprofits, cause organizations, Web publishers, general public.

JD LasicaOne appealing storytelling startup that launched four months ago, Meograph, gives online storytelling an added dimension that too often has been missing: context.

With Meograph, you can create what co-founder/CEO Misha Leybovich calls “4D storytelling” through a simple interface that lets users add images, video and text to a story they want to tell. It’s free.

“The big vision is that we want to democratize the creation of interactive video storytelling,” Misha said over coffee at ING Cafe in San Francisco earlier this month.

Today if you have a story to tell, you can publish a video to YouTube and write a blog post about it, but it starts to get funky if you want to add a lot of photos or tell how the story evolves over time. Meograph lets you create and share interactive stories that contain combine video with maps, a timeline and links, filling in that often missing context of where and when. Continue reading

April 27, 2012

Take charge of the curation wave with these slick tools


A Twitter best practices page on Scoop.it curated by Debra Askanase.

Why Scoop.it, Bundlr, Pearltrees, Storify & Pinterest should be part of your Web marketing plan

Second of two parts. Also see:
Top tools to help you curate business content

Guest post by Gianluca Fiorelli
SEOmoz

Target audience: Businesses, brands, social marketers, SEO marketers, website developers, Web publishers.

gianlucaIn the last couple of years, the tools available to content curators have really taken off on the Web. Some are worthy of the hype and have partly changed the nature of content curation (Pinterest anyone?), and others have a great user base in the content marketing field but are less known to social media or SEO marketers.

Below I’ll list and describe the most interesting ones. It’s a very personal selection, so please add your own favorites in the comments.

Scoop.it: An all-in-one solution for content curation

Scoop.it is probably the best site for content curation right now. Even though it offers several ways to share the content you curate in your Scoop.it magazine on your social sites and to embed on your site, it’s mainly meant to be viewed on the Scoop.it site.

The final product is a magazine, where it’s possible to publish content suggested by the Scoop.it suggestion engine — from the sources you have set up, from its bookmarklet, and from the other curators you’re following on the site itself.

The overall quality of the curators present in Scoop.it is quite high, even though you must dig to find the truly remarkable ones. The system suggests users related to your topic. But if you want to explore topics you’re not curating, the Scoop.it search system is not the best one.

Scoop.it offers the opportunity to republish your curated content on your site: via widget, which you can configure as you want, and via RSS feed. If you have a WordPress or Tumblr blog, you can connect it with your topic page and republish your curated content there.

Scoop.it is a freemium product, and the free subscription is powerful enough for your typical content curation needs. But if you want to use your brand, your own domain/subdomain and have analytics (and connect your magazine to Google Analytics), then you need to subscribe to the Business plan.

For more insights about Scoop.it, read this post, which Gabriella Sannino published on Search Engine Journal, or this great guide by Chris Dyson on his blog.

Bundlr: Clip & save text clips, images, video and more

Bundlr is a “clipper site.” Think of it as Pinterest but not limited to just images and videos. In fact, with it you can clip and save in your bundles practically everything you find relevant online: text clips, images, video, code snippets and more.

Bundlr, as with any curation content tool, lets you share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus what you have clipped, and it lets you add your note about the clip. This is especially interesting for social content curation. Moreover, the page can be curated by more than one curator or can be kept private if you are curating a topic for internal use only (both available in the pro version only).

Bundlr lets you embed your topic page in your own site, too. The embed will get updated as constantly as you continue to clip new relevant quotes and images about your selected topic. Another way to embed a page in your site is via RSS.

Alternatives to Bundlr include:

  • Snip.it is in beta and very Facebook oriented.
  • Bagtheweb.com is a mix between Scoop.it and a clipper site. Its most interesting functionality is that you can create a network of “bags” to create a deeper curated content experience about a topic and its subtopics.
  • Clipboard offers the opportunity to embed (or share on social networks or with a link) just one clip. For instance, click this link.
  • (Oh, yes) Pinterest.

Storify: Curate coverage while adding commentary

Storify fulfills perfectly the “chronology” concept of content curation. With it, it’s possible to narrate a story aggregating the best content about the same topic from different sources, while commenting on it and offering your own vision about the event presented, as this Storify by Charles Arthur about sexism in the web marketing industry nicely displays. Continue reading

October 4, 2010

5 standout start-ups that rocked TechCrunch Disrupt

The Hotlist

See what your friends are up to in real time with The Hotlist.

The Hotlist, DataSift, MobilePay are worth a look for businesses & individuals

Jessica ValenzuelaAt last week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, I met a number of startups that I thought were really cool. They may not have made it to the Top 7, and they didn’t win the TechCrunch cup, but I think these are companies that will be useful for businesses, organizations and individuals.

This is my first list on Storify, which makes it easier for content curators to weave great content together in a presentable format. (See MavinDigital for a look at how Storify formats your blog posts.)

Use Storify to share stories on Flickr, YouTube, Twitter

The main reason I love services like Tumblr and Posterous is that they make personal blogging simple. While you certainly still can write long-winded pieces about whatever you want, you can also just use a bookmarklet or email to send in individual pieces of content quickly. Storify seems like it could be the next step in that evolution. The new services, launching today in beta at TechCrunch Disrupt, is all about content curation from other social networking sites. Say there’s a tweet you see and want to build a story around (we do it quite a bit), with the click of a button, you can drag it into your Storify story. Maybe there’s a Flickr picture about the same topic — same idea, just drag it is. Maybe there’s a YouTube video, or a Facebook status update — all of this stuff can be easily pulled in. This creates one story of all this curated content.

Datasift: Tune into relevant tweets

In his explorations with the Twitter button, Tweetmeme founder Nick Halstead discovered that there are millions of tweets a day producing a stunning amount of valuable information. The only problem is separating the wheat from the chaff, the signal from the noise. Datasift, in the same space as HootSuite and Tweettronics, is attempting to make this process of sifting through real-time data easier for companies. The Datasift platform, accesible through a drag and drop graphical interface, is a curation engine that relies upon real-time filtering, providing developers with alerts, analytics and a real-time API.

MobilePay: A wallet in your mobile device

I absolutely hate carrying around both my phone and my wallet in my pocket. What if I could just carry around my phone and my driver’s license? That would be awesome. If MobilePay USA takes off, my wish will come true. The company, which was the TechCrunch Disrupt attendee pick to come out of the Startup Alley, seems amazing. It’s an iPhone app (right now, but they will expand it to many mobile platforms) that replaces your credit cards and loyalty cards. You simply enter in your credit card data (but don’t worry, it isn’t stored on your device, it’s securely stored in the cloud) and you can pay for things with the click of a button rather than fumbling around for and carrying all your credit cards.

The HotList: Keep your social life fresh

Want to know which spots are truly hot in your area? The Hot List will tell you in any city in the world. A social aggregator that enables you to find out what’s going on among your friends, within your neighborhood and around the world, the Hotlist has just announced that the company closed $800,000 in angel financing. Funds from the angel round will be used to to launch full mobile integration of its service to consumers (iPhone, BlackBerry and Android apps are on the way) and to support The Hotlist’s platform development. Continue reading

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