Storify for Twitter chats

Want to use Storify to capture your discussions on social media sites like Twitter? Take a look at Mike Reilley, Storify user SPJChats, who has mastered how to do it.


  1. Storify is a great way to do that, @nortonbrian, according to Mike Reilley, founder and editor of The Journalist's Toolbox and a faculty member at Depaul University.

    Reilley has been facilitating weekly chats for the Society of Professional Journalists on Twitter for a while, but he uses Storify to capture and archive the chats. By intelligently curating responses rather than pulling in the entire archive of tweets, Reilley creates a concise and easily digestible archive for people who missed the chat.

    See an example below.

  2. "I had been using Storify for other things, mainly trends and breaking news in Chicago," Reilley said in a phone interview. "Then I started using it to teach my students to curate stories."

    "Around the same time we were launching the SPJ chats, Storify was in Alpha," he said. "We started archiving the chats because people can't make it every week. There's a high demand for a precise archive that gets to the gist of each chat quickly."

    But in the beginning, it was rough.

     "I was having a hard time archiving those chats. Often there are side conversations taking place that can become distractions and slow down readers. Storify lets me cut through the clutter, cut to the chase."

    Reilley would start the SPJ chats on Thursdays around 7 p.m. and end by 8:30 p.m. Then on Fridays he would use Storify to archive the chat. After a few chats, he decided it was time to Storify the chat in real time.

    "I launch the questions, jump in the chat occasionally, retweet some things," Reilley said. "But I've also got my laptop, and I'm able to curate while the chat is going on. At the end of the chat, I do a countdown to when the archive is available, you know, 'Three, two, one,' and then link to the archive on Storify. It forces me to focus and multi-task."

    "It's great because I can build it as the story develops, and you can do it on deadline."

    He also tweets out the archive and notifies the people who he's quoted via Twitter as well. 

  3. "It reaches people who may not be reading your chat," Reilley said. "You get a lot more readers, people start reading your chat, and the next thing you know, more people are in your chat. I've definitely seen a difference. There are more people in the chats because they've seen our stories."
  4. Need some help getting started?

    Reilley had some tips for people who want to use Storify to archive online discussions.

    1. Start slowly. Don't try to do a real time discussion the first time. Be patient with yourself, because it takes a while to get the skills down.

    2. Include many voices. Sometimes in chats, one or two people can dominate. Your readers want to learn from and hear a diverse group that accurately depicts the chats.

    3. Don't be in a big rush. When you think you're done and ready to publish, take another pass at it. Check for typos. 

    4. Make sure you notify the people you've quoted in the chat. It's not required, but helps your story go viral.

    5. Stop and think about the readers. People wander in and out of the chat even when it's happening. Some people miss the whole thing. The archive gives people a chance to easily get what they wanted from the chat.