Burt Herman is vice-president of editorial at Livefyre, Inc. He co-founded Storify, a platform that allows anyone to create a story by pulling together multiple sources of social media content. Herman spent more than 12 years at the Associated Press (AP), six of those in news management as a bureau chief and supervising correspondent.
I invited Burt to Marketing Smarts to talk about Storify and how brands can use it to tell more compelling stories.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation.
Lessen the burden of content curation by pulling compelling social posts into one cohesive story (01:18): "There's so much out there on social networks—so much amazing potential content that you could use in your story. Originally, we were thinking of journalists using it in stories to talk about news happening all a round the world. People are posting hundreds of millions of tweets, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, all this stuff, and most of it isn't that interesting, but occasionally there are these incredible photos—the plane landing in the Hudson, civil war in Libya or in Syria, the Arab Spring, elections, Obama tweeting that he wins—all these things that are so valuable. Storify lets you search through all the social networks in one place, and just grab a photo, grab a tweet, grab a video to put in a story that you can publish then on Storify, and weave it together with other social media and your own text. Then, take this whole story and embed it on your own website."
The potential uses for technology in storytelling are limited only by your imagination (06:40): "Somebody searched Twitter for the lyrics to the song 'Imagine' by John Lennon and, without asking people to tweet the lyrics to the song, they were able to put together the entire song, because around the world in any 24-hour period, it just so happens that people are tweeting the lyrics to that song, parts of that song in 140-character bursts... I think it's fascinating to show that there's a conversation happening between these people out there without even realizing it."
Combine social media and journalism to produce better quality stories (18:13): "It comes from thinking about social media as a real powerful thing... I was actually at Stanford doing this journalism fellowship for a year...and seeing all the freshmen in classrooms with their laptops on their desks, not paying any attention to lectures, but looking at Facebook all the time. i was thinking, how do we make news as interesting as social media, and how do we take the fact that there are a lot of people using social media and posting media, doing all this stuff out there in the world. How do we leverage that to tell stories, and apply the best of the old practices of journalism—the context, and fact-checking, and critical thinking about what people are saying, being a watchdog on government business—and apply that to social media? Kind of take the best of journalism and social media and put it together?"
Burt and I talked much more about the evolution of social media, journalism, and marketing, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify, and vice president of editorial at Livefyre, Inc..