AuthorBee, a collaborative storytelling application driven by social media, is being launched today as a Web platform integrated with Twitter. The new @AuthorBee application allows individuals, or corporate brands, to create extended narratives built from the tweets of their followers.
Launched at 2012's SXSW Interactive conference, AuthorBee was founded by Stephen Bradley, longtime digital entrepreneur and venture capitalist. It offers individuals, and loosely associated communities, the ability to collaborate and create coherent stories from multiple points of view. The platform, Bradley said, is designed to work in conjunction with social media—a Facebook version is also in beta—and @AuthorBee is specifically linked with Twitter.
Users can create an account/channel at the @AuthorBee Web site which must link to their Twitter account. When using any Twitter mobile client and mentioning #AuthorBee, that same tweet will be sent to the users’ @AuthorBee channel and saved in sequence. The Tweets of the users’ followers (who also use #AuthorBee hashtag) will also be archived in conjunction, and in sequence, on the channel.
In a phone interview with Bradley, he told PW that @AuthorBee “allows uses to collaboratively tell stories." He went on: "If you tweet and mention AuthorBee, it will show up in the Web app on your channel.” Bradley said the new app can be used to “publish poetry, short stories, songs, or a recipe. It can engage your followers in anticipation of a book’s release.”
Bradley pointed to award-winning horror novelist Michael A. Arnzen (100 Jolts and The Gorelets Omnibus), who is using the @AuthorBee app to engage his fans in advance of the release of his new book, Instigation (which is a collection of tips and advice to fuel creativity in writers). Arnzen sent out a call to his followers to help him create “a seven course meal menu that gets increasingly disgusting with each new entrée.” His followers responded with a long list of creatively awful suggestions for the hypothetical meal that are archived for reference and future use. His branded @AuthorBee channels also offers fans the ability to buy the book directly via the @AuthorBee website.
Arnzen said, “I see AuthorBee as a great literary experiment. The platform is designed to enable collaborative writing and creativity, and it’s a smart way to integrate Twitter, especially since a lot of ideas come from story prompts that I’ve shared with my followers. It will be cool to see how people use it to create multiple storylines and see their collaborations in a different way.”
Bradley said he is developing a number of versions of AuthorBee including versions for educational use and fan fiction in addition to the Facebook and now the Twitter integrations. “It’s a way for fans to engage with a favorite author or with each other,” he said, “you can create and save a community conversation that produces new content at low cost.”
AuthorBee is a privately-held company and Bradley said they intend to make money by licensing the software platform to larger brands. He also emphasized again that the app has broad applications. “Newspapers that want to cover local sports events can get people at the each event to live-tweet the action and set up citizen news channels using @AuthorBee.”
He described the application as “a better way for people express themselves,” citing “the low barrier to participation that twitter provides.” Creator-owned AuthorBee channels, he said, “serve as the perfect showcase to feature and drive traffic to their stories and collaborations.”