College student's Storify story sets record with 1.5 million views
Viral story about school bus monitor was a key part of the social media effort that raised $650,000 for the bullying victim
- In a record-breaking Storify story that drew more than 1.5 million views, a college student told the viral story of a school bus monitor being bullied by students, helping to raise $650,000 to help the woman retire.
- Karen Klein, a school bus monitor in Greece, N.Y., was relentlessly bullied by students on the bus in the YouTube video. Readers on Reddit and elsewhere started a fund to give Klein a vacation. That fund now stands at more than $650,000, and Klein has indicated she may use it to retire. She also says she will give some of the money to charity.
- Ben Doernberg, a student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, saw the viral potential in the story early. He tweeted on June 20, before the story was well-known: “Remember the name Karen Klein. You'll be seeing her on television in the near future.” Doernberg was right. By the end of the day his story was viewed more than 600,000 times, making it the most viral Storify story in the platform’s history.
- How did he know the story could go so viral? “The strength of the reaction on social media,” Doernberg says. “It was very emotional and involving.” Doernberg says one main factor in the story going viral was the early praise of social media journalist Matthew Keys, deputy social media editor of Reuters. Not long after Doernberg posted his Storify, Keys tweeted the link, calling the story “one of the best ways I’ve seen Storify used to tell a story.”
- Mashable writer Stephanie Haberman, who regularly uses Storify to write stories about social media, also discovered the story early. Haberman tweeted: “Question to the peanut gallery - is embedding someone else's @Storify kosher?” The answer is yes - any Storify story can be embedded by anyone anywhere. Haberman embedded Doernberg’s Storify story in her post on Mashable.
- An embed of the story on The Huffington Post took the story viral. When he saw a story about the bus monitor on Huffington Post, Doernberg tweeted to HuffPo reporter Laura Hibbard that his Storify story could make a good link or embed in her story. She did embed it, and it became the most popular story on the site, remaining so for several days.
The number of views on the story now stands at more than 1.56 million, making it the most-read Storify story ever. The Huffington Post story where the Storify story was embedded was liked more than 250,000 times on Facebook.
“It’s a perfect use case for Storify. It’s all about drawing attention to the story and creating social momentum around it," says Storify co-founder and CEO Xavier Damman.
Doernberg’s next piece of writing was for an audience of one: He began work on a paper about independent journalists in New York for his Wesleyan studies to give to his professor. Doernberg will write a student journalist’s guide to Storify this summer, beginning with how he wrote the bus monitor story.
He says he knows he hit it big with this story and might not again. "But I made it into a New York Times story, and as far as my parents are concerned, that’s as good as it gets.”
For more information, contact Jeff Elder, Storify marketing director, at [email protected] or call 704-650-4130.