Thing 4 (part 2): Making current awareness look pretty – storify, scoop.it and paper.li

This post was written for 23 Things for Professional Development, Thing 4: Current awareness – Twitter, RSS and Storify.

For the second part of thing 4 (yes, I know things have got a bit out of order as I’ve already blogged thing 5) I’ve been looking at storify, scoop.it and paper.li.  These are all tools for bringing together social media posts and presenting them, but they all work slightly differently.

Storify

Storify lets you pull together content from different places on the web and display them as a ‘story’.  You find stuff to add by searching for it in the storify editor where there are dedicated search tabs for twitter, facebook, YouTube, flickr and instagram as well a google search.  If you already know the URL of something you want to include, you can add it with that too.  A really useful feature is that you can add text between the content, so you can include your own comments or explanation.  It was all intuitive and quick to get the hang of.

So, what might storify be useful for?  I can see this being useful where you want to give an overview of an event by bringing together pre-event, live and post-event tweeting, blog posts and anything else that might be relevant.  I also like this storify on information overload by Sheila Webber.

Scoop.it

This was the one out of the three tools I tried which I found an immediate use for.  I’ve been pondering ways in which I can keep a record of my favourite blog posts from cpd23 and here is a great solution: my Highlights of cpd23 2012 using scoop.it.  I can’t see a way of embedding it in my blog so here’s a screenshot.

Screenshot of Highlights of cpd23 2012 scoop.it

In scoop.it you can create topics and each topic has a page like the one shown above.  Depending on the keywords you give your topic scoop.it suggests content, but there’s also a bookmarklet you can use to ‘scoop’ any interesting page you find and that’s what I’m using for this topic.

You can search scoop.it for topics and follow topics so that you’ll see their latest scoops on your follow page.  When you view a scoop.it topic you get options to filter the posts by keyword and suggest scoops to the ‘curator’ (person who made it).  One downside of scoop.it is that you can’t add any explanatory text or comments like you can in storify.  However I find the end product much more visually appealing and with the bookmarklet it’s easier to add things you come across over time.

Paper.li

Paper.li is different to storify and scoop.it in that you don’t select content.  The content is selected automatically based on search parameters you set up and you get emailed with new content in the format of an online newspaper every day or every week.  I can see how this could be useful to keep up to date with a certain topic, but I found paper.li the hardest of the three tools to get to grips with.  My papers weren’t coming up with content I was expecting them to, and I’m not sure why.  If you link paper.li to your twitter or facebook account when you go to your ‘newstand’ you’ll see papers from people you are connected with and you can search for papers created by other people.  Several of the papers I found seemed to contain quite a bit of irrelevant information, so it’s obviously tricky to get the search terms just right.  One paper I found that I thought worked well was Technology in Libraries created by Stan Bogdanov.