Hello, folks. I’m Caitlin Saniga, a copy editor and online editor for The Roanoke Times and roanoke.com, and I have a hand in interacting with you via social media. I’m usually the one sending out tweets and posting bits and pieces on Facebook after 5 p.m.
Storify is one of the new ways we’re exploring telling stories on roanoke.com, and it involves you and your social media presence. It’s an online tool that allows users to search for keywords, phrases and hashtags (even taking into account proximity to a specified place) on sites including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Google and many others.
Let me give you an example of one of our stories. On April 20, Roanoke was a bubble with runners and supporters who had gathered for the Blue Ridge Marathon. There were lots of little stories unfolding leading up to the marathon, during the race and after the runners crossed the finish line. And many of you were talking about it online. Using Storify, we were able to gather posts, photos, maps, videos and more from the community.
From that, a story very different from the one we ran in the newspaper the next day was told on roanoke.com as it was happening. We followed along as runners laid out their gear the day before the race, as supporters gave their well wishes, as racers progressed along the course, as participants displayed their bloody socks and marathon medals and as some chowed down on cupcakes and beer in the area after the race. What a day! As one person on Twitter put it, “Just reading about the Blue Ridge Marathon makes me exhausted.”
In that Storify feed alone, we heard from more than 75 different sources across platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. We saw 35 photos, 2 maps, 1 chart, 1 video and more tweets and Facebook posts than we can count. It seemed like the Blue Ridge Marathon crowd was a chatty bunch.
So we thought we’d try again with different audiences in different scenarios. So far, we’ve rounded up conversations from the Virginia Tech graduation and several other graduation ceremonies, Festival in the Park, and a severe weather situation that ended with a rainbow — and the dialogue has remained robust.
But there seem to be endless ways Storify can be used in storytelling.
With that in mind, I have a few questions for you:
Do you post to social media sites when you’re at events?
Would you post to social media sites if you were in a newsworthy situation (surveying property damage after a tornado or watching a house fire, for example)?
Do you use hashtags on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to make your posts more searchable?
What types of stories or events would you like to see us cover with Storify?
Thanks for your input! And let’s keep the conversations going.