On the TV show Portlandia the hybrid hipster-yuppy couple played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have a craft business gluing stuffed birds onto anything in their path and then trying to sell the new object as something funky, cool and hip: “We can put a bird on that!” “Storify that” may be the latest funky move in social media, but it also signals something more significant in the way that scholarly conversation and the exchange of ideas is making its way out of the academy and into an open public forum where anyone can participate.The free Storify application enables users to group content from social media platforms into one curated whole. It’s how conferences archive tweets. It can be a creative act of juxtaposition or a collection of social media/”authorized” media buzz on yesterday’s big news event. This makes me think of ways Storify could be used in the classroom as a bridge to understanding more critical uses for social media, and to introduce the idea of public scholarship to undergraduates. I found my own tweets included in a Storify put together by someone from the Beyond the PDF Conference currently taking place in Amsterdam, and in a Brooklyn Nets game Storify (!) Like Twitter, Storify lets you know when you become part of a public exchange. Some of us recently live-tweeted the SJ Graduate Conference, and a highlight was having Dr. Mentz speak back to us from the twitterverse. This is the feel of the whole scary/exhilarating condition created by the act of public knowledge-building: cultivating a self to put out there for the taking and remixing, having your thoughts and experiences remixed by someone else’s. The real-time speed of some of these interchanges makes the air around you seem dialogic. The Storified curated collection is a public archive of these idosyncratic dialogues. There is a huge potential here for radically democratizing knowledge. Now Storify that.
For more on digital humanities check out the HASTAC website and my blog here.