I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while now. I think that my concern was that once I wrote it, I would need to accept that Storify is really going to be gone. A few weeks ago, I received an email that many others also received, indicating that the free service, Storify, would be unavailable after May 16th. What?!
Our daily blog posts exist because of Storify. Right now, we tweet and add images and videos to Instagram throughout the day, and then collect these posts in a Storify story: providing the context for them through the blurb at the beginning, and then providing an extension activity through the blurb at the end. We can then embed these stories in our class blog, and send the link to parents. Storify is an integral part of our workflow. What were we going to do now?
I felt overwhelmed when I read the email with the news, and with an uncertainty over what to do, I did the first thing that came to mind: I ignored the news. My hope was that the problem would magically solve itself. 🙂 Maybe not the best example of my problem solving, but I honestly didn’t know where to start.
Many people suggested that I follow the instructions and export the stories, but the amount of data to export is overwhelming. I currently have 952 stories.
- Where am I going to store all of this data?
- Can I upload the files into blog posts?
- How long will it take me to do this, and is this a feasible goal?
- If the embedded stories disappear though, what’s the impact on our class blog?
I keep trying to remind myself that all of these posts are on Twitter and Instagram, but the idea of having hundreds of pages of broken links brings me to tears. This experience has been such a good reminder for me that our class blog is an ongoing story of our thinking, our ideas, and our learning, and even though these thoughts may exist elsewhere, the collection of them is important and impactful.
But I was still at a loss for what to do. That’s when I read Doug Peterson‘s post on the end of Storify, and decided to leave a comment sharing some of my frustrations.
Doug replied with some other options that I could consider.
As I explained in my next comment though, we have a few other considerations that make Doug’s suggestions likely less advantageous for us.
This conversation had me continuing to wonder, how do I meet everyone’s needs? And so, I sat on the problem, thought about possible options, and continued to publish Storify stories. When the winter holidays arrived, I promised myself that I was going to come up with a solution and stop adding to what I knew would ultimately be deleted posts.
Last night, with less than a week to go before we head back to school, I seriously investigated different options. I Googled “alternatives to Storify,” and started signing up and investigating various ones. None of them allow me to pull the posts that I want from Twitter and Instagram. Sway lets me add paragraphs of text, which I appreciate, but I still need to upload the photographs and videos from my device. I’m also restricted by the number that I can add, and most days, I have more to share than the maximum amount. I thought about just adding the Twitter links and Instagram posts directly into a blog post each day, but with over 30 to add on most days, the time commitment would be huge. We could share less, or write individual blog posts on different topics each day, but then parents are less likely to see what their child is doing (something that matters to them), and we’re less likely to get a good, clear picture on the overall learning happening in our classroom (which benefits us as we plan for the days ahead).
These problems took me back to looking at Twitter Moments: Andrew Campbell‘s suggestion for me back when I first heard about the end of Storify. Reading a little more about these “moments,” I found out that …
- I can embed them into a blog post. Yay! This is less clunky than having parents click through links.
- I can use the drop-down menu on each tweet to add it to a moment. This makes these moments easy to create on a device or on a computer, which I love.
- There is no limit to the number of tweets added to each moment. Since the number of posts vary on a day-by-day basis, it makes me feel better knowing that we can add any number of these posts to our moments if we want.
I am restricted on how much additional text I can add to a moment, so I will likely need to write the context of the day and the extension activity right on the blog post, but this is certainly doable. The look of the overall post is similar to the Storify ones, and aesthetically speaking, I appreciate the cleanness of the display.
After this Storify experience though, I am left worrying and wondering, what happens if Twitter gets rid of their moments? Am I just replacing one free option with another one that could very well disappear? My hope is that we can create these moments until the end of the school year, and then we can spend some time this summer reconsidering our workflow and possible blogging options for next year. Maybe we need to post directly in the blog to avoid the fear of discontinued products, but what will parents think of this option? How will this change our workflow and our interaction with documentation? It looks like my first blog post of the new year already connects with my one word questioning goal.
Such is the “price” that you pay for “free”. Developers typically aren’t charities and I think we all use these things knowing that there may come a day that the free ride ends or we “pay” for them with other things like advertising, etc. If we don’t, I think we’re naive. Still, it hurts when it goes away. In my case, it was the applications Zite and Seesmic.
If it’s that important to you for continuity, then it may well be that you go with subscribing to the new service. Another alternative is to look at the talents of your IT Department; perhaps there’s a database programmer there that would like to take it on as a project.
I know that I curate using Flipboard (https://flipboard.com/@dougpete) and I was delighted to see that it was included in this article.
Thanks Doug! You’re right, and I was lucky to use Storify as long as I did with limited changes along the way. I did check out the paid version, but I will still lose all of my current content, and it’s not exactly what I want. Twitter Moments may be the best option for right now, but I think I’m going to really need to reconsider my workflow for next year. I didn’t check out Flipboard. I wonder if it could work. I’ll definitely take a look. Thanks again!
Flipboard is a piece of cake. Just but the +Flipit button in your toolbar and click it when you have something you want added. It doesn’t break everything down in a daily fashion; you find that you’re creating the never ending story. For me, it works nicely.
Thanks Doug! Just signed up for it. I think this could be a good way for me to collect professional readings. I’m not sure that it does what I need it to do for our class blog, but I will play around with it more.
Keep in mind Brightspace or D2L’s Learning Space. It is a supplied program from the Ontario Ministry and available at every school board in Ontario. The cool part is that it has a digital portfolio for each child, allows stories and parents sign into a private space. This portfolio will follow them through to secondary and all parents will see all of your class or webpage announcements.
It does include a new video feature where you can leave messages on your class page (webpage) and you can send private messages to parents through email.
It stores stories, without any issues, includes tweets, Instagram pages (and there’s a ELC or teacher represenatarive at your board there to give you hand with setting it up). I believe you can stash all the past stories with embedded links to make it work. Just check with your board representative. I’m thinking Roger and I sent you a link of who that was.
Will be following your story to hear more about what you decide to do.
Thanks Tina for sharing this option! We do have a possible plan for the ePortfolio app, which is tied up in this, but this varies from our daily story. Thanks to Jared Bennett (@mrjarbenne), I think I have a solution to this Storify problem. I’m going to add another comment with his idea.
Curious to hear what others do!
Thanks to Jared Bennett (@mrjarbenne), I have a new (more permanent) solution to this Storify problem. He shared this option with me through Twitter.
Now I can add tweets and text right on our class blog, and create the story right there: no longer worrying about the use of a different third party option. I may still lose all of our Storify stories — due to volume alone — but from now on, I can feel safe knowing that we won’t be losing more content as we rely on another free site. Jared also tweeted out the plugin to make this same option possible on your WordPress blog if you’re with another Board.
Curious to hear if others use this option or what else they decide to do.