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Telling Stories Using Social Media

2011 January 4
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Over the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about how stories are told using newer forms of technology. In early December it was reported that the Washington Post, “carried a story built out of an annotated Facebook feed.” That made me realize that the idea of social media storytelling is not something that is new, it’s become an accepted way of reading and writing stories.

Of course people still read stories in traditional form, but today you can also read stories as they unfold on Twitter, on Facebook walls, and in text messages. You can also create stories that are developed through the information posted online via social media and on search engines. There are even websites and apps that help in putting stories together as they take place, or after they take place. For example:

  • Storify is a website, currently only available by invitation, that gives users the chance to build a story by combining tweets, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, Google news and images, and more into a collection of events.  All anyone has to do is login to Storify, using a Twitter login, and start collecting pieces for a story.  Imagine giving teens a theme – say zombies – and asking them to put together a story from Storify using images, tweets, and wall posts. While the teens won’t be writing the story from scratch, in the traditional sense, they will be learning about how to develop a theme and organize a story beginning, middle and end, in order to develop something compelling to readers.
  • Google Search Stories launched just after the 2010 Super Bowl. As with Storify this platform gives creators the chance to search (this time just Google) in order to put together a story. But, different than Storify, Google Search Stories creates a story from the search terms and phrases entered into the Google software.  And, it turns those search terms, phrases, and results into a movie. It’s really pretty amazing to see how a story can be told via a series of searches. The platform is easy to use and gives teens the chance to tell stories about topics in which they are interested. They can create Google Search Story booktalks, or tell a story about a family event, or make up something from their own imagination.
  • Paper.li is a newspaper building site that gives users the chance to create a newspaper from a feed on Twitter or Facebook. Once the paper is setup, a daily edition is published. Teens who create a Paper.li newspaper have the ability to create a one-stop-shop for keeping up with topics of interest. They can read a range of stories on a selected topic and even focus on a specific selection of authors of their choosing.

The above are just three tools you and teens can use to put together stories using social media as a jumping off point. If you are interested in keeping up with tools of this type consider following Mashable either via RSS feed or Twitter.

–Linda Braun

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2 Responses
  1. Christina Linder permalink
    January 14, 2011

    This type of story telling is an example of Transmedia Literacy.
    http://www.teachstory.org/?p=535
    Thanks for sharing these great sites. I look foward to trying some of them out.

  2. October 17, 2011

    Please add http://Twimagination.com/ to that list. Twimagination.com is a Twitter application that allows you to share your short writings such as fiction stories, poems, novels, fairy tales, fantasies, dreams or any other products of your imagination through Twitter. Check us out!

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