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Storytelling through social media

A review of 3 visual tools

I’ve had the chance to play with a few new (to me) social media tools while I’ve been on a short secondment from my day job.

Here’s a quick write up of Pinterest, Timeglider and Piktochart as well as what I’ve done with these and my views on their usefulness.


I have to admit I’ve ummed and ahhed over the use of Pinterest. I’ve made a few early attempts at it for GCN. Haven’t seen many uses of it in a corporate context that really worked for me.

Until I put together this #MadebyApprentices board for National Apprenticeship Week. It pulls together a wide range of really powerful examples from a range of channels (the use of the hashtag really helped!).  There is no chronology to the pins or any need to order them. It is just a great visual collection (with a little text) that really tells a story. I don’t think Storify or anything else could have told the story as well as a Pinterest board. New pins are still being added and the board and its images will be used in future campaign activity.

I then used again to pull together current and past imagery related to the Arctic Convoy Campaign and Bomber Command from World War II. I was surprised to find so many pins on other boards for these subjects. And you might even spot a few of my own photos in there (the not very good ones). It’s often said that Pinterest is more geared towards women, but there were boards galore on war-related topics! Social media does love a good niche subject…

My one criticism of Pinterest, I do wish that you could drag and drop to reorder your Pins on a board. That and their much vaunted, newly released analytics tool is really rather useless. It needs a lot more work before it delivers any meaningful insights.


I was asked to take a look at the fantastic history section on the Number 10 site and have a think about how we might surface some of the content over the Easter period. The history section is one of the most consistently popular parts of site.

I had the rough of idea of some sort of timeline so I had a bit of a Google around and found several timelining tools. I decided to give Timeglider a go.

This was so much fun to work with! Easy to figure out, great interface and intuitive. Beat the pants off a few other timelining tools I looked at.  It’s not 100% perfect as a tool – a few little bugs that need ironing out. But overall I was really happy with the free version that I used.  It’s both embeddable and standalone. And a great way to tell a story!


Very early stages of playing with Piktochart. I know the Foreign Office have tried it. I’ve got an idea to try it out a little later this spring when we launch the new annual comms plan for government 2013/14.

It’s really easy to use, again a good interface. All very drag and drop and straightforward and allows a lot of customisation even in the free version. The choice of templates/designs in the free version is of course limited. But the monthly paid for version comes in at only $29 and you can cancel at any time. This gives you a choice of over 100 templates and a few other extras on top of that.

You need a really good numbers-based story to tell with a tool like this, something with some killer facts that lend themselves to a visual approach.

Published in work


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