Using Storify to tell a social media story

When your customers or audience is using social media, they are using the channel they love the best. Sometimes it’s Twitter, sometimes Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, flickr or Google+. As a social media manager, you know you can use web tools to monitor these channels to find out what people are saying about you.

But when it’s a good story, why not tell it across all those channels?

That’s where Storify comes in.

The platform allows you to search for hashtags, keywords, users and more across multiple social media channels. With the Storify bookmarklet or Chrome extension, you can turn content across the web into nuggets perfect for telling your story.

You can see some Storify stories I’ve put together at work at Wake Forest University. We’ve covered the University’s first TEDx conference, 2012 Commencement, the recent move-in day when students come back to campus, and most recently, Wake the Vote.

Getting started is easy. You can create an account with an email address or log in through Twitter or Facebook. Storify allows you to search many social media channels for keywords, with or without hashtags. And content that you can’t find through those channels? You can create web links for them.

Storify’s blog is done entirely through Storify — which is kind of meta, but a great way to see all the possibilities.

One thing I would like to see is a way to save a Storify as a pdf, for uses other than websites.



Back on the air!

Okay, so it’s not really air, I get that. I was down for a while and have lost about two years worth of posts due to a snafu at another domain hosting company. I won’t name them except to say that they run really offensive Super Bowl commercials and have lax security.

So, bear with me while I get my bearings. I’ve imported all my old stuff from Blogger (again!) and will start unpacking and setting everything up. Welcome!


You know how LinkedIn shows you how many people have looked at your profile and how many times you turned up in search results on your home page? It’s a stat I’ve looked at often in the last few months during my job search.

Tonight, I checked it out, and it said 6 people had checked me out in the last 7 days. When I clicked on the link to check out the possibilities, I was pretty surprised by the top 5 results. Take a look:

1. Greg Bowman, a co-founder of Linking Greensboro Live, whom I’ve met in real life at a huge networking event this summer. I’m looking forward to the next one. We’re linked.
2. Chris Brogan, social media connector and thought leader, co-author of Trust Agents, a new book which I’ve just finished reading and recommend highly. We’re linked.
3. Sarah Palin. Interestingly enough, I must know someone who knows her. We’re second degree connections.
4. John McCain. Huh, same deal. We’re second degree connections. Who knew?
5. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA! The President of the United States is searching for meeee.
So I know I’ll be getting that LinkedIn invitation any day now … or maybe he’ll contact me via Twitter. He’s a very social media savvy President, you know.

Talking to fill the silence

If you’ve ever been interviewed by a journalist, you may have experienced a tactic designed to keep you talking. You’re answering, you’re answering, you finish — and silence. The other guy doesn’t say anything, doesn’t ask the next question, just looks at you expectantly. So you start answering again. And maybe putting your foot in your mouth.

That’s talking to fill the silence. Don’t fall for it. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.

How I wish some folks caught in the media glare would get that: Jon and Kate Gosselin, SC Gov. Mark Sanford, maybe even Katherine Heigl. I’m talking about you. There comes a time when the rest of us just do not need to know anything else about your personal lives.


But there may come a time when your company or organization faces this interview tactic. Remember, answer the question and then stop. Here are some other tips for facing the media:

  • Don’t blame
  • Don’t repeat a negative
  • Don’t volunteer tough topics, especially when you don’t really know the answer

To be fair, the Gosselins and Katherine Heigl are considered to be celebrities and their representatives apparently believe in the old adage “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Their tendency to spill is most likely less about being caught by an interview trick and more about the quest for fame.

And your organization probably isn’t raising sextuplets and divorcing, mysteriously disappearing from important governmental duties or starring in a summer movie. So you don’t have to talk about those things.

Photo credit:

Silver Anvil and Silver Lining

I’ve learned a lot about being grateful this year.

It’s been a good news kind of year for me. (Well, with the major exception of having my PR agency position eliminated. That was very bad news.) I earned my APR designation from the Public Relations Society of America in January, won an award from my local PRSA chapter and started doing social media workshops for executives. In February, I gave a presentation about social media for nonprofits as part of the Council of PR Firm’s effort to give back to communities across the country. You can see that slideshow on my LinkedIn profile.

In March, my position was eliminated. Total grey clouds. A sudden tornado or earthquake. Unanticipated. But there was a silver lining. A week later I learned my campaign was a finalist for a Silver Anvil and then a week after that, it was also a finalist for a Silver SABRE award. The SABRE went to another campaign, but the Silver Anvil went to the campaign I led in June. Want to see it? Just click here.

April and May were busy with freelance work. That’s something new for me: being my own boss, having a very tiny commute downstairs and saving all that gas money. So far June has brought the opportunity to visit the beach two weekends in a row. I grew up living near the beach, but hadn’t been back in years. I was too busy at work, remember? Since I’m currently my own boss, I gave myself those vacation days.

I’m job hunting like crazy, but also taking the time to appreciate all the good things in my life. My friends are on the lookout, contacts I’ve made through work, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are giving me leads and great support and there’s a little extra time every day to just be myself and clear out the cobwebs.

So if you are working full time and busy with your career like I was, remember to take a little time for yourself. You might have had layoffs at your office or at another branch and might be feeling scared that your turn is next or trying to do your job plus the additional responsibilities of a former coworker. You might just be running yourself ragged. But do what you can to replenish and recharge. You’ll feel better at work and at home.

When Fame Bites

Is your brand ready for fame? Fame in all its incarnations: from glory to gory? When you put yourself out there you may think that a little fame is exactly what you’re seeking. But as fast as your personal brand and reputation can be built up, it can all come crashing down.

I’m thinking about this as the headlines swoop by for “real” people caught in the reality of a 24/7 news cycle. You’ve probably been reading about them. Jon. Kate (and their Plus 8). Nadya Suleman, now forever known as Octomom. Susan Boyle – the Scottish singing sensation and internet darling. Their backgrounds are different, but the cycles are frighteningly similar.

For Jon and Kate Gosselin, it took a couple of years to ramp up their notoriety. It started with a special on Discovery Health when their twin daughters were about four and their sextuplets (3 boys and 3 girls) were about 18 months old, and then short season episodes until TLC took over the show as ratings climbed. Expanded seasons of their TLC reality show, book tours and appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, the morning news shows followed until the huge promotable event (could it really be just last August?) of their renewed wedding vows at a resort in Hawaii. Less than six months later, we have nonstop coverage of alleged infidelity, child labor law complaints and rumors of divorce. There’s a saying that no publicity is bad publicity, but this family might differ.

For Nadya Suleman, it started with a medical miracle: eight babies surviving birth in a California hospital. A story like this is usually slam dunk positive news. But the tide turned quickly, when it was revealed the single mom had six other young children, no job and no real place to live. Now there are reports that Suleman has signed a contract for a reality show. Oh, and there’s an Octomom Vs. Kate Gosselin gossip fight. When did we first hear about Nadya Suleman? Just six months ago. January 2009.

When it comes to Susan Boyle, the cycle turned even more quickly. Her amazing audition for Britain’s Got Talent became an instant hit on YouTube. (Yes, I’m linking you there because it’s still one of the best videos ever.) How’s April 11th strike you? Weeks later, backlash because she got the tiniest of makeovers. And then she was caught on camera cursing paparazzi, and there was even doubt that she’d be able to perform on the final show. But she did, bravely, and came in second — with class. That was Saturday night, May 30th. Now we’re hearing she may have learning disabilities after being admitted to a clinic for exhaustion. That was Sunday, May 31st. Just seven weeks ago, the only people who knew Susan Boyle were her neighbors and friends in Scotland. Seven weeks.

You may think these examples don’t apply to your business or your spokesperson because you don’t represent a reality show. But the speed of the Internet coupled with the word of mouth amplification we’re seeing through social media could make you an overnight sensation — of the good or bad kind.

Remember Motrin Moms? How about the KFC grilled chicken coupon? Burger King’s Facebook “unfriending” campaign? These campaigns hit sour notes within days.

Fame usually comes with positive connotations. When it takes a wrong turn, you’re headed straight for notoriety.

Have you had a brush with fame or notoriety? How did you handle it?

Three reasons to visit

I started following Guy Kawasaki on Twitter months ago, after I had visited his website Alltop, a website that aggregates blogs based on their topics. They call it an online magazine rack. Interested in scrapbooking? Visit How about personal finance? ( Maybe you’re a huge Carolina fan? is the site for you.

Three reasons to visit the site:

1. There are so many topics, with new ones created all the time. They are updated 24/7 so there’s always something interesting to read. I have found personal and professional inspiration here.

2. You can create your own personal Alltop. Find the blogs on the topics you’re interested in and create your own personal mix of news, chat and comments. Plus it’s really easy to share links and more with your social network. Mine is

3. Inkslinger is now on!

I’m sure there are many more reasons you’d visit Alltop. How are you using it to find the best conversations and topics?