SB Nation United: A Tutorial And Discussion On StoryStreams

Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nation

We have a shiny new blog. It looks great, but it's also slightly confusing. We're here to help! Let's start with StoryStreams.

I'm proud of the way that the Buffalo Rumblings community has adapted to the sweeping layout changes that were made to the blog on Tuesday morning. It was a jarring change, to be sure, but it's also a bold and exciting step into the future as we ramp up our Buffalo Bills coverage to unprecedented - and really cool - heights.

In an effort to help y'all better grasp the platform, I'm going to do a few tutorial posts on some aspects of the new platform when time permits. Those will all be collected in our Blog Tutorials section, which you can access from the blog's home page atop the River. (Or you can just bookmark that link!)

The first topic of our tutorial series: the StoryStream. This is technology built by and exclusive to SB Nation, and it allows us to tell comprehensive stories in pretty unique ways. Here's what you need to know about them.

START HERE: To follow along, please click this link to open up our StoryStream containing all of the relevant stories related to yesterday's release of Brian Moorman. That link will open in a new window (or tab) so you can follow along below and mimic these actions at the same time.

FIRST THING: You'll see a massive, pretty picture, a headline, and a promotional teaser blurb that sums up the whole of the story as best as possible. That'll orient you, in most cases, so you'll know that you've reached the right general topic.

THE BASICS: Think of a StoryStream as an organizational unit. It collects a bunch of smaller stories within a larger overall topic. The word "story" is in the title for a reason: it allows us to tell a story as a situation unfolds, such as the Moorman release, or the various injury updates we get on a weekly basis.

Various updates appear in a story chronologically, but they do not all appear on the page by default. We as editors have the ability to identify important updates, and those are what appear by default (again, chronologically). To see all updates, click the "All Updates" tab that appears in the left-hand pane of the stream, as depicted below:

Clicking "All Updates" gives you a reverse chronological view of every single story covered - or, more generally, every single angle of the bigger overall story. Each "sub post," if you will, gives you a clickable headline and its own individual comments section. Different types of content can be collected - articles, short updates, videos, FanPosts and FanShots, and more - but it will all appear reverse chronologically in the StoryStream.

NAVIGATION: Sometimes, an article that appears on our front page will belong to a StoryStream without your knowing it. Sometimes, you'll click a headline within a StoryStream and wonder how to get back to the full stream. In both cases, you can see the full contents of the StoryStream on the right-hand side of whichever "sub post" you're on:

Note that the grayed-in circle is the update that you're currently on. You'll see two more updates in that right-hand pane, and then you can get back to the full StoryStream by clicking either the headline or the blue "X more updates" link at the bottom of the pane. This makes navigating the StoryStream much more fluid than clicking back buttons or drilling back down from the home page.

FACEBOOK OPTION: This is an optional part of the StoryStream that doesn't have to affect you if you don't want it to, but we'll mention it briefly, anyway. If you're Facebook inclined, you can "Like" a StoryStream to have subsequent story updates added to your Facebook timeline automatically. This can be handy if you're having trouble wrapping your head around the site, but still want to stay up to date on a particular topic.

A NOTE: We are going to be using StoryStreams a lot. You'll see them on game days, for newsworthy topics such as the Moorman release, and for slower-developing and ongoing stories such as the Bills' stadium lease negotiations. That'd be why we're covering StoryStreams first in this tutorial series; I'm confident that the community will get used to them very quickly and begin to see their value as our content volume increases.

QUESTIONS? Fire away. Not many of you know this, but I work in IT as my "day job," so I'm well-equipped to handle any and all questions about StoryStreams and the platform that you may have. Let's talk StoryStreams - and if you have any suggestions about how you might get value out of this technology, we're all ears!

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