THE BLOG
10/13/2014 06:42 pm ET Updated Dec 13, 2014

Is Collaborative Storytelling the Next Generation of Blogging?

The evolution of blogging from text-based content to a visually-rich medium marks a transformation in the thought process of society. Blogging trends over the years demonstrate a shift in the way that people respond to viral marketing strategies. And in today's mobile world, people are more attracted to pictures and visual graphics than anything else.

2012 is when we saw the first pronounced shift in content consumption with the rise of Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. In fact, a study that year found that 44 percent of users were more likely to engage with a brand that posts photos rather than purely text-based content. And it makes sense: visual information is more quickly processed than other types of content. Christian Adams highlights this in his eBook, InstaBRAND.

Your stories and ideas can reach the highest heights of expression when they are supplemented with enticing images and graphics. The folks at SHIFT found that tweets with images drive substantially higher engagement levels across all metrics.

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This percentage difference is substantial, and it signifies a huge opportunity for businesses to use photos and images to increase engagement.

Interactive, visual blogging

This is precisely what the founders of the new social media site CoStory ("from collaborative story") are banking on. I met these folks at the BlogHer Conference earlier this year. They've launched a new platform focused on enabling collective story-building. It's like the old Mad Libs game we played as kids, but exclusively visual, and fully digital. It's similar to pictorial blogging: your story, supported with pictures, elevates content to new heights.

You can contribute to any existing topic, create your own, or explore other visually-appealing experiences and stories.

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Costory works by breaking down a story theme into what blogger Becky Flansburg calls "smaller, digestible 'scenes'." These scenes can exist as a brief story or can be used as the launching point for a myriad of variations. It acts like "choose your own adventure" stories from childhood, but the permutations are infinitely broader. A fun part about the process is going back to discover the points where you've become a co-author through a fellow poster who's borrowed your contribution.

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This same push for collaborative blogging is what's driven Storify to redesign, and rethink itself. And collaborative Wordpress blogs like Broken Light, and Spilled Milk, have proven "author-sourcing" is an effective way to produce steady, fresh content.

So, if people will not revert to traditional, text-intensive, informative styles, perhaps the future of blogging lies in concise, aggregated, dynamic, visual content. Because, after all, as InstaBRAND cites, our brains like it better that way, anyway.

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