I’ve been following the unrest in Libya at the BBC site. Though I don’t see any references to Storify, Datasift or Curated.by, the left hand column, with it’s combination of short reports, links, and tweets, seems to be a scaled down version of content curation (also known as storification and digital curation).
This appears to be the natural outgrowth of citizen journalism (which is a worthy topic and, of course, may be a facilitator of the unrest to begin with). Storification tools allow anyone to select content — pictures, video, tweets, and virtually any social medium – and assemble a custom record of an event. The choices the “curator” makes can make all the difference in clarity, perspective and impact.
As with all social media, some people do this well and some do it poorly. I am especially interested in how established media is adopting these tools. They seem to provide much wider, more up-to-date and unfiltered coverage – perfect for a news junkie like me. For the future, I expect amateurs to build there skills and unrecognized talents to break out and become mainstream. Consider it a YouTube for news coverage.
I also expect to see hybrid and refocused uses of storification. There is a great deal of interest in using storytelling to engage, excite and transform businesses and other organizations. Will storification become as common as the company newsletter? And will it have more impact? (By the way, just as with other internal communications, there can be unintended outcomes. Stephen Denning is the savviest person I’ve run into on the use of storytelling in business. I’d love to see his reaction to these new tools.
Storification may also find its way into fiction. There is no reason why a cadre of imaginative people could not report on a pretend event, have an editor curate the reports and have the result become a collaborative work of art.
One thing that is sure to happen is these tools will change history. Literally. If journalism is “first rough draft of history” (a quote ascribed to The Washington Post’s Philip Graham), certainly, the collection, editing and preservation of new streams in a form convenient to future historians will make their output quite different from the output of information gathered and sifted by historians long after the fact.