Storify: Simplified

Storify is a social media platform with the goal of telling stories or narratives through other social media posts. With a layout that’s a hybrid of Facebook and Pinterest, this platform is quickly gaining an audience with social media “storytellers”. Storify is probably most commonly used in articles to report on events that are heavily discussed or covered through social media. By using direct links to specific tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, YouTube videos, Instagram or Flickr photos, and other outside sources, Storify restructures and condenses these posts into a congruent newsfeed that then tells a story.

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Each post requires a title and description, but the body of the story is up to you. In the sidebar, choose the social media tab you wish to pull posts from, and then you can either search by a keyword or user to find what you’re looking for. To input specific posts, use the link tab and paste the direct link of the specific post you’re looking for, the posts will be generated in the sidebar. Drag-and-drop posts from the sidebar and simply click between posts in the story feed to slip titles or captions into the narrative.

One flaw that I found was in importing posts from Facebook. I wanted to add comments from a post on a Facebook page. Every time I pasted the link, the post didn’t generate correctly and the body of the post didn’t even show up. By reaching out to Storify on Twitter (@storifyhelp), I figured out that I had to download the Storify extension on my Chrome browser. This allowed me to right click on the comment and say “Add to Storify” and the post showed up in My Collection under the Storify tab in the sidebar.

Overall, Storify is a brilliant site that bridges the gaps between social media platforms and helps us tell our stories through the new, digital short form that is today’s writing.

Behance: A Creative Portfolio Site

Behance.net

“Take creative control,” says the About page on Behance.net. There is a disconnect between creative individuals and the employers that seek their talent. Part of the Adobe family, Behance is an innovative site utilized by creative professionals that aims to not only help construct their portfolios, but also to showcase their work for employers. When the site formed in 2006, their goal was to create a platform that doesn’t mask talent or hinder opportunity but that connects companies and creative minds globally. The site is also connected to other online gallery websites so that portfolios reach the widest audience possible. If you’re a budding designer or looking to hire one, make sure to check out Behance. Don’t let bureaucracy keep you from your creative potential.

Also, if you’re a graduating this year, there’s a six-month paid internship position available with the Behance team in New York. Check out the details here.

10 Free Infographic Tools

Source: Creative Bloq

Source: Creative Bloq

Sometimes, it just isn’t feasible to create a graphic from scratch on Photoshop or InDesign. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day. That’s where easy-to-use infographic websites, such as Creative Bloq’s Ten Free Tools for Creating Infographics come in handy to speed up the process. For the simplest, easy-to-use option, Easel.ly or Venngage have premade templates, themes, and icons to choose from. If you’re looking to share and connect with other designers, Visual.ly would be your best bet. If you’re a Windows user, Get About allows you to track and record social media activity and creates infographics with the results. From visualize.me’s revolutionary infographic resumes to Piktochart’s easily customizable infographic templates, there’s a free alternative for any infographic project you can dream up. Explore your options at Creative Bloq.

John Monberg wins CAL Alumni Award for Innovation and Leadership in Teaching and Learning

John Monberg

Photo by G.L. Kohuth from MSU Today

We would like to formally congratulate WRAC’s very own, John Monberg, for winning the College of Arts & Letters Alumni Award for Innovation and Leadership in Teaching and Learning! Monberg is an Assistant Professor in the WRAC Department who has shown tremendous innovation inside and outside the classroom.

“I’ve worked hard to identify activities that both enrich the educational experiences for students and help to create enduring resources for communities,” Monberg says. “When the complex details of a real community are brought together with the wide variety of skills that students bring in terms of visual design, user experience, video production and writing for specialized audiences, wonderful things happen.”

Jeff Grabill, Chair of the WRAC Department and Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing, expresses the challenges of rhetorical education, “How [do we] provide students with compelling ways to learn how to participate as public citizens?” However, Grabill says that Monberg has tackled this question quite well. “He thinks carefully and deeply about the new resources and infrastructures needed for us all to meet the challenges of participating as citizens in a complex, global world.”

Monberg is enthusiastic about the department’s commitment to joining together teaching, technology, and community. “This commitment allows us to understand some of most significant questions our society faces as our world is transformed by changes in technology and culture.”

In regards to Monberg’s leadership in the education world, Grabill says, “I have never seen a colleague engage in such a sustained project of innovative teaching and learning, and it has pleased me a great deal to see the attention his work has received from the larger university community in addition to the accolades from the greater Lansing community.”

PW Senior Alyssa Onder accepted to Denver Publishing Institute

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We are pleased to announce that Alyssa Onder, Professional Writing senior, has been accepted to the Denver Publishing Institute. While Jon Ritz brought the program to her attention as a sophomore, she only remembered the program recently while looking into her plans for after graduation. As a certification program, Onders decided the Denver Publishing Institute seemed to be a better fit for her than grad school. Associate Professor Stuart Blythe only has good things to say about the program, “The Publishing Institute is a terrific first step for students interested in book publishing. Many students actually walk away from the Institute with a job offer.” In regards to Onder’s acceptance, he explains, “Alyssa was in a section of my WRA 202 that I taught a couple years ago. Based on the good work she did then, I’m not surprised that she was accepted.”

While this four-week long program focuses mainly on book publishing, they make every day count. Lectures and workshops cover everything from book design and packaging to proofreading and copyediting to media marketing and a bit of multimedia publishing. In response to her acceptance, Onder explains what she’s looking forward to most, “I’m hoping to learn more about where the publishing industry is headed. Because DPI focuses largely on book publishing as opposed to magazine or e-publishing, I’m interested to learn about how the industry is keeping print alive and how I might be part of that.”

In addition to in-depth workshops on editing and marketing in the publishing business, the Institute also offers one-on-one sessions with DPI graduates and prominent figures in publishing. “I’m excited for the networking! There are so many experienced publishers, agents, and editors from the ‘The Big Six’ visiting DPI to work with students. I’m eager to meet them and learn about their experience with the industry.” Of course, ‘The Big Six’ Onder is referring to are the most distinguished publishing companies across the world: Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Macmillan, The Penguin Group, and Hachette. From these prestigious companies, there will be two representatives from HarperCollins and one representative from Penguin, Macmillan, and Random House at the Institute, respectively.

Upon graduating the program, she will receive a Publishing Certificate. Since Onder is in the Editing and Publishing track of Professional Writing, this program gives her a perfect opportunity to not only explore the publishing industry and what it has to offer, but to network inside the business and launch her career in publishing.

Best of Twitter 2013

Twitter Glossary

NYmag.com

I could start this by stating that Twitter is an incredible micro-blogging site that has revolutionized social networks and connected the world in a global conversation like never before – but I’d be stating the obvious. The truth is, Twitter is one weird place. Sure, it’s just one of the more popular corners of the Internet to hang out, but, not doubt, it inspires some odd behavior. Round up all the humans with internet access, give them 140 characters to state their opinions and the ability to read and respond to almost anybody else’s opinion, and we’ve got ourselves a straight up verbal rampage on our hands. Should be fun.

Let’s look back on the most popular Twitter trends of 2013. There are the more well known entities that you couldn’t escape if you tried such as Horse ebooks or Doge. (So done, much annoying.) And then there are the obscure such as Twitter canoes or subtweeting (The overuse of mentions and the blatant disregard of them so people don’t know they’re being talked about.). Some of these may not have reached you in your corner of the Twitter-verse because – let’s face it – Twitter is huge and some conversations don’t quite circulate far enough. One thing’s for sure: there’s no end to these trends. As long as Twitter lives, grows, and changes, so will its users and the rhetoric they use. Check out NYMag’s 2013 Twitter Glossary for more trends.

Hack, a new programming language by Facebook

Hacklang.org

Hacklang.org

Last Thursday, Facebook revealed its latest achievement, Hack, a new programming language. When Facebook was created ten years ago, it was coded entirely in PHP. However, as Facebook became bigger, the language became harder to manage and developers were more susceptible to making mistakes. The manager of Facebook’s Hack team, Bryan O’Sullivan, helped eliminate those errors by creating Hack. The website has moved almost all of its code over to Hack in the last year. The company released an open-source version of the language for the public last week.

As an open-source programming language, Hack was designed to allow developers to write bug-free code fast. By keeping some elements of PHP and combining the structure of other programming languages, Hack was born. In order to debug code more efficiently, instead of checking while the program is running, which is what PHP does, Hack will check for errors ahead of time, which is called static typing. The language itself is most similar to PHP; O’Sullivan encourages programmers that want to use Hack to only convert the parts of their code that are the most important, as it is not necessary to redo everything. This blending of both static and dynamic typing forms a method called “gradual typing” which has been shown to provide swift feedback and incredible accuracy.

Read more about this new language at ReadWrite.