Steller: A Guide for Preservationists

What is Steller? Steller is a storytelling app for the iPhone designed to create short, visual stories. As described by Steller on the App Store:

Everyone has a story to tell. Tell yours with photos, videos, and text, all right from your iPhone.

I’ve been using Steller for almost a year now. Although my use has been somewhat inconsistent, I’ve found it an excellent medium for posting quick, fun stories that recap events or places. My past Steller stories range from the restoration of the Oasis Diner in Plainfield, Indiana’s County Courthouses, to a recap on the @igersindy #circlecitysesh23 instameet at Garfield Park. Most recently, I created a Steller story on our Heart Bombing in Indianapolis. I was honored to have that story shared in the “Stellerverse” – which meant Steller shared it with all Steller users! Check it out here.

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Unfortunately, I’ve been surprised that not many preservationists have picked up on using Steller. I think it could be an excellent social media platform for sharing the compelling stories that help in saving places. To encourage use by other preservationists, I thought I’d provide a brief overview on how to start storytelling on Steller.

Steller: A Guide for Preservationists

What type of stories might be appropriate for Steller? Simple: really, almost anything! Ideally, a subject that can be conveyed using imagery. Highlight a successful restoration project, the history of a place, a tour of a historic site, a thematic overview of building types (courthouses, post offices, murals), a tour of a downtown or community, or even a brief overview of a threatened resource.

What’s the structure of a Steller story? Typical Steller stories range from about 10-15 pages. Start with a strong graphic on the first page and keep the text light. You can put a full page of text towards the beginning if you want to provide detailed information. Make sure to include a nice variety of contrasting imagery, detail shots are always good. You want to keep your story concise, but engaging, which is why 10-15 pages is a good length.

How do I create a story? When you prepare your first Steller story, you’ll notice you can select three types of pages – text, video, and photo. With each, there are different layout options. They’ve tried to keep the options limited, so it makes the preparation process simple. Start by looking at other Steller stories for inspiration. Images don’t need a lot of text – even one or two words is perfect, or no text at all! Play with font sizes and placement to keep it interesting. You can include links to external webpages, just include the entire link and it’ll become active. Grab people’s interest through the story and they’ll want to learn more on a website or other social media page.

Why should I use, yet another, social media platform? Steller combines many of the features of instagram, twitter, and vine all into one app. It creates a narrative; instead of one static image or video you can combine several to convey an entire story. The best part? Even if you do not have the app installed or if you are viewing the story from a computer, you can still view the stories. Most of all… preservation is about stories. Steller is a storytelling app. The two are destined to work well together. Start telling your preservation story through Steller – feel free to add me so I can see what stories you have to share! Questions about Steller? Feel free to ask in the comments below.

Steller story on the web
Steller story on the web

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