Try it: 3 ways to tell a story online

By General

Compelling content is a differentiator in a world where everyone is an online publisher. That content can take entirely new forms: data visualization (like this recurring developments site from Beutler Ink) or inspired curation (like Brainpickings by Maria Popova). And of course multimedia plays an ever larger role in online storytelling. Last year’s groundbreaking New York Times feature on the avalanche at Tunnel Creek has even turned snow fall into a verb.

New apps and platforms are springing up to entice a wider range of people to try multimedia and interactive storytelling. Three to consider:

1. Storyteller
Last week Amazon released Storyteller, a quickly and easy way for writers to storyboard their scripts. The scripts have to be in Studios but the service, still in beta, is free (except for a 45-day option). This feels like a grown-up version of xtranormal, and a way for writers to more quickly envision the creative potential of a script. Best of all, you can use the tool to storyboard others’ scripts in a more public and collaborative environment.

2. Tapestry
When not ruining our lives with Dots, the people over at betaworks have been polishing version 2.0 of Tapestry. Tapestry is a mobile app aimed at beautiful, short-form storytelling. I gave it a try — the admin user experience is clean and simple on the admin side, and the consumer experience of tap to-advance on mobile is oddly addictive kind of like, well, Dots.

puppy story

3. Zeega
Finally, more interesting developments in interactive storytelling over at Zeega. Originally a collaboration at Harvard, Zeega is now among the first cohort of media entrepreneurs over at Matter VC. The platform enables slick integration of audio and video, and has attracted a creative community masterful with found assets. There’s enough complexity to be able to create pieces for a recent exhibit at SFMOMA — but it’s also a way to have a lot of fun with your ABCs and the Jackson 5.

The most encouraging thing about all these apps is the way they are lowering the technical bar for creative storytelling online. It recalls how blogging liberated text publishing from the webmasters and multimillion dollar content management systems in the early 2000s. These are three to watch — and to try.


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