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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 10:24

Storify... Where You Don't Store Stuff

By - Michael Rader

What is the meaning of Storify? When I first stumbled upon Storify, which was quite recently, my immediate thought was that it was another company offering cloud storage or possibly a company that offered an ecommerce solution for websites (similar to what Shopify offers). When I soon figured out it was something altogether different I bothered for just a few moments to figure out what it really was. I couldn’t figure it out quickly enough so I left.

For this article I revisited the site and dedicated another moment to grasp its concept. The sites “About Us” page offered this brief explanation:

aboutUs

Maybe it was just me, but at this point I still had no idea what Storify was. The grammatical error, “making,” is the first thing that distracted me. But disregarding the error, I still understood nothing about using Storify or what it could offer me. This brief description is so vague it frustrated me. How does it hlep me make sense of what people post on social media? Usually when I read posts by individuals on social media I understand them right away. I don’t need help making sense of the opinions of my friends and family and their relationship issues. I am usually not reading mathematical equations or Einstein’s Theories of Relativity. The description then uses the word “curate,” which is no term to use when describing what it is that a company does. The point of the About Us page is to very clearly communicate in simple, well-known words what the company is for and how I can use them.

What is Storify? To understand Storify better, I played the 17 minute TEDx talk video they recommended that I watch. Since Storify is having a bit of trouble quickly and accurately communicating what they do, I’ll do it for you… and me:

Storify is a modern-day, online news network that allows journalists, other news networks, and even you to write stories about anything at all. You can write about current events or write about something that interests you. You have the ability to add what other people are saying about your story’s topic by searching various social media networks and adding their posts as pieces, or references, to your story. By combining your writing with what others are saying, you are creating a solid story with real, sociable sources. No longer are you getting a single point of view from a news network. You are getting the opinions and views of real people involved or close to the story’s topic.

It’s not a perfect description but it definitely paints a clearer picture. Here’s an example of a nonsense story I put together on Storify for no good reason: http://storify.com/MichaelRader/goodnight-everyone

Where did Storify get it name? By now I am sure that you understand where the name Storify comes from. It is the combination of the word “Story” and the suffix “-ify,” which is a verbal suffix meaning “to make,” “cause to be,” “render,” or “be made.” Some real-word examples using this suffix are:

  • Beautify
  • Simplify
  • Amplify
  • Exemplify
  • Glorify
  • Purify

The reason for Storify’s instant confusion is because we instantly associate it with the word, “store” not “story.” This can be compared to the real-word “glory.” We have no problem understanding where “glorify” comes from, or what it means, because its prefix “glor-” has only one other association. That being “glory.” The prefix “stor-” is used in a few different words:

  • Store
  • Story
  • Stork
  • Storm

Since most real-words that contain “-ify” are either words like “amp” and “beaut” that simply tack on the “-ify” suffix or words like “purify” and “simplify” that drop the ending vowel from their base words (pure and simple) we unthinkingly assume that the word “Storify” is built from one of these two ways.

We know that “stor” is not a word so we use the latter technique of dropping the ending vowel to fashion our definition of “Storify.” The real definition of Storify is beyond our unconscious understanding of English rules, which is why we initially get it wrong. I can just as easily say that Storify is a combination of “storm” and the suffix “-ify.” Because of the multiple uses of “stor-,” Storify is made ineffectual. Using the former method of simply tacking on “-ify” would have been more successful in relaying Storify’s meaning. The name would instead be “Storyify,” which is without question no great alternative. The namers perhaps should have gone back to the drawing board.

Here are other “-ify” company names that do work because they follow our basic understanding of English:

  • Chirpify
  • Spotify
  • Mixify
  • Shopify
  • Brandify
  • Backupify

Storify may be a slightly off name but the product it offers has awarded the company with great success and a huge following. Many company names are not perfect in communicating what it offers but if it starts the conversation by getting people curious and involved then it is ultimately successful. The important thing is to find a name your company falls in love with so you treat it and build around it a company that broadcasts your passion for it. If your audience feels that passion they will want to be part of it.

Be bold and be courageous when choosing your business name. Brandroot has the unique and creative names you need to attract and retain the curiosity and devotion of your customers.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 7:25

Michael Rader

With over ten years in web development and design, Michael Rader has expertise and technical know-how. But more than a skilled technician, he is an entrepreneur and innovator who helps startup’s and new businesses identify and define their future with a unique, brandable business name. Michael Rader is the founder and CEO of Brandroot®, a leading .com domain name marketplace. He currently lives in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii where he operates the business and authors a blog dedicated to naming and brand name establishment.


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