Storytelling Gets Social, in Tweet-Driven Doses, with AuthorBee

11/26/13Follow @jpruth

Plenty of ways exist to collaborate on stories but AuthorBee has taken the task to tweets.

The platform from the New York-based startup lets individuals and businesses interact with and crowdsource ideas from the public. Last week, AuthorBee introduced its @AuthorBee product, which brings the action to the Twitter audience.

The basic idea is to collect followers’ input on projects, says CEO Stephen Bradley, whether it’s to include in a story or to build a bit of viral marketing. He uses a broad definition of “story” to include poetry, music, and other means of telling a tale. Bradley believes his platform can make creativity a more social experience.

Book authors, for example, can use their @AuthorBee channel to interact with their fans in advance of a new release. This can be in the form of prompts that encourage readers to decide what happens next in a story. “It’s a very interesting way to extend Twitter into a more lasting story creation format,” Bradely says.

The AuthorBee platform is about telling stories in small, collaborative chunks, he says, without taking up lots of time. Individuals can use the app for free. Bradley says users of AuthorBee include creators of fan fiction and educational institutions.

Brands can license a white label version of @AuthorBee to get customers involved via Twitter in marketing campaigns. That can include emerging musicians looking to reach new followers, who might contribute lyrics to create a new song through the platform. Publishers can also leverage @AuthorBee to generate content from citizen journalists, Bradley says.

An example of an AuthorBee channel.

An example of an AuthorBee channel.

Large manufacturers can use the platform to run contests with input from their Twitter followers. A beer maker, for example, might ask people to list their favorite pubs to create the ultimate pub crawl. Mentioning AuthorBee in tweets will also capture messages for the archives, Bradley says.

The strategy behind AuthorBee, which is backed by angel investors, stems from Bradley’s experiences with content publishers. Prior to founding the startup in early 2012, he was president of entertainment with market research firm NPD Group. He worked with publishers of content from movies to music, and saw a migration to social and digital business models.

That transition focused on new modes of distribution, Bradley says. However, he wanted to see a democratization of creativity. “I was much more interested in the very, very front end of the value chain,” he says.

Media, he says, really starts with the creation of a story. He believes that process has changed through technology. Social media offered a broad audience and the means to make storytelling more accessible—and that is where AuthorBee comes in. “We thought it was a very natural combination to overlay a Twitter front end onto our platform,” he says.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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