Many creators are expanding beyond the screen, using social media and other platforms to spread their story and content. Interactive narrative is a form of storytelling where users can influence or even help create part of the story. A common method is to use platforms like Facebook or Twitter to tell part of the story and thus engage the audience. Some will use this interactive piece to extend the current story being told on screen and some use it to tell stories separate from the main story. This type of delivery is a great way to build community and to immerse your audience in your project. However, spreading your story over multiple platforms can create unintended barriers for those trying to reach your content.
The Need to Curate
Following a conversation or story via social media such as Facebook or Twitter can be clumsy and broken. Many people are only casually familiar with social media and how to carry on a conversation. Depending on your audience, you may even find many who do not have a standard account for the platform you are using. This can lead to missed pieces of your story and confusion in how your content is interpreted. There are tools out there that can help reduce and remove these barriers. Curation (or “Archiving”) tools can be used to guide people to your story, teach them how to use the interactive platform, and preserve your story for those who miss the original experience. Storify is one tool that many content creators are using to both produce and preserve content.
An Elegant Solution
Storify lets users pull content from major social media platforms into one cohesive story feed. Users retrieve Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, Youtube Videos and links to websites arranging them in a timeline or a Storify “Story.” You can also add text to clarify or direct the story and to link elements together. Once created, these Storify Stories can be read without needing to go to Twitter or any of the platforms (AKA no need to register or create accounts). Dark Detour and Age of Turing are two projects using Storify to enhance their story experience.
Case Study: Dark Detour
Dark Detour ran an interactive horror narrative experience in 2014. The story was told using Facebook, Instagram, Swarm and other web platforms. The Dark Detour creators collected the assorted social media posts and created a Story Feed reviewing what had taken place each day of the experience. This type of recap was very useful for those that could not follow the experience in real time. Dark Detour is currently crowdfunding season 2 (slated to run the last week in October, 2015). The curated Storify stories are being used to introduce those new to the project to the season 1 story.
Case Study: Age of Turing
Age of Turing (AoT) is an alternate reality game and interactive narrative built around the concept of, “What if Alan Turing had lived?” that is, as of the Fall 2015 publication of this article, currently being released. A large piece of AoT’s story delivery is through the characters’ Twitter accounts where conversations between the characters and the audience take place. Twitter can be very daunting to follow for those not used to the nature of the platform. The AoT creators are using Storify to produce weekly recaps with the different Twitter conversations, Youtube Videos and story websites curated into Story Scenes. (I have helped curate some of the stories and find Storify very easy to use and navigate.) A larger audience can be reached as Storify reduces the potential barrier that following multiple accounts can create.
There are many more uses for Storify. I have conducted interviews via Twitter and used Storify to curate the final interview article. Many journalists use Storify to create news feeds and journals. Whether you wish to pull content from multiple platforms into one place, or create an archive to preserve your experience, I recommend you visit the example projects and look at Storify as one way to curate your cross media project.
To check out Storify, go to their website: www.STORIFY.com