50 Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story

I am sidestepping some of my own blog advice by blogging something that’s not fully ready for prime time. Among my frantic evening time prep work for my October Australia tour, I am starting to weave together workshop / presentation materials I’ll likely leak here first to get some feedback.

What seemed like an off the cuff idea, and mostly because I just liked the title, I am working on a workshop activity called “There Must be 50 Web2.0 Ways to Tell a Story” – the premise being to introduce participants to at least 50 sites that allow them to assemble at least two kinds media as a story and republish it to other web sites. About a week or so of digging around got me at least 54 candidates.

So for those missing the musical allusion here, it is a nod to the elegant lyrics of Paul Simon, re-purposed here as

The story is all inside your head
She said to me
The answer is easy if you
Go on the web and see
I’d like to help you in your struggle
To be free
There must be fifty web 2.0 ways
To tell a story

Most of my presentations stat with what I think is a clever title. The content somehow catches up later.

So I am in the middle of building the wiki pages that provide a brief intro to each tool, 2 examples of something produced with the tool. The main rule is all content must be original or stuff found, and credited to, creative commons licensed sources.

But I thought I should walk the presentation, and see if I could build thr same story 50 times over. Looney! So I am taking one I submitted a few years ago for the 60 second story contest as it was made from images and audio (the original was published in QuickTime, but I am backing out the media to assemble 50x). The original video is hanging out on the long tail of YouTube, and is of course, a story about a dog, Dominoe.

And now, in honor of the creativity of Barbara Ganley, who ventured out a beautiful experiment in telling a story in images and text via slideshare. So here is Dominoe, recast into slideshare (mixed images and text in Powerpoint to get there):

But Barbara is gone hiking in the Canadian Rockies for 10 days, so now I have a long wait to see what she thinks. Maybe by then I will have all 50 done… or I will be so sick of this I will be out on a ledge.

Once I have the 50 posted, I’ll ask my readers to take a look, suggest examples or ways to make the activity more clear.

PS – Holy irony. The day after writing this, my wife reminded me that today was the anniversary of Dominoe’s passing away in 1993 (it’s an old story- all the photos are scanned 35mm print photos).

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hey Alan,

    Sounds like an interesting project.

    BTW your link to the YouTube video, is catching part of the cogdogblog url, so it doesn’t quite work properly.

  2. I confess, I had tears in my eyes at the end. Coming on the heels of reading “Marley and Me”, I must really be going through the dog days of summer ;-). Beautiful, lyrical, and as always, your photography blows me away, she was and is beautiful.

    That said, I’m “borrowing” your idea for my SmartMobs class with due credit to you as the originator of the idea of course :-). Although it’s a first year seminar class and the emphasis is on developing their critical thinking, research, and writing skills, the class theme is “new media” and it seems anachronistic to me if they did not undertake at least one “media” project. And what a fun way to promote visual and media literacy. Hmm, now how do I take this to my faculty is the next question.

    Thanks for the shot in the head this Tuesday morn :-)

  3. Alan, you are a madman. “50” ways!?! How about this for an idea – remix the song first, make it “30 web 2.0 ways to tell a story (the cogdog mix)” and save your sanity. Naw, guess that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well. At least you didn’t pick Jay-Z’s “99 problems” as your theme song. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Cheers, Scott

  4. Hi Alan,

    We are looking forward to your visit to Sydney.

    When you get two years, check out our blog and wiki and so on.

    Would be keen to engage with you as to what you have planned when you hit the shores of this big not-so-dry continent ….

    I’m keen to find out what you’ve got to say about imbedding the use of networked communication technologies including web 2.0 in organisations seeking “safe” innovation .

    Is there such a thing ?

    Looking forward to your presence amongst peers and colleagues.

  5. Lovely, moving story, Alan! I love how you use your pictures–the mix of humor and drama coming through the tension between text and image. I will show this one to my students this fall when we move into Slideshare stories.

    I am honored (blown away, really) that my experiment has inspired you to recast yours. And now that we can use audio on Slideshare, just think of the stories we can tell.

    Looking forward to watching all fifty. And learning from your bold example.


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