Inspiration

By Vistorylizer founder, Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, MA, MFA

Welcome to Vistorylizer, a near real-time media activity tracking tool for Twitter.

The driving force behind the development of this visual storytelling tracking tool has been my own fascination with visual-based communications on the Internet, an interest sparked early on in my career. My intrigue, however, became more of a focus during a social media strategy consulting project I led back in 2014. In those days, and well before my interests in media psychology, I'd often get recruited to optimize social communications, outreach, and campaigns for brands.

Between 2014-2016, I was spearheading social media strategy on behalf of a luxury hospitality brand. As part of the brand's social strategy, the client sought to improve their visual storytelling across their owned channels.

In direct response to the client's needs, I set out to compile a visual storytelling intelligence report of sorts across their primary competitors and market share landscape. And it was during this reporting effort where I quickly learned how manual and cumbersome collecting visual data points would be; in part because back then, there were no visual reporting tools on the market available to help. As a result, I laboriously crafted together a report myself and it took days and days to put together, one social media post at a time across 10 competitor accounts over a 30-day period! It was hell to do this by hand but I did it.

The luxury client came to highly value and rely upon my visual storytelling reports, so I pressed on with my manually cumbersome visual media reporting, always hoping some kind of tool would come available to help reduce the workload, but none ever surfaced.

Unfortunately, while many social media measurement tools do exist, most if not all ... both then and now ... primarily limit their insights to audience development and engagement activity. I realized then that if I wanted a visual media tracking tool, I’d pretty much have to build something out on my own.

Over time, I became determined to facilitate the data collection process, even if it meant I had to develop a tool myself.

I went on to make a list of visual media reporting features and data points I deemed essential for a visual storytelling measurement tool to offer. I also mocked up interface sketches and product design ideas for this would-be tool in case I’d ever feel compelled to prototype something one day in the future.

However, these appdev aspirations were postponed by my decision to attend graduate school. Plus my usual project work and family commitments also got in the way. So my intentions to build out a visual media reporting tool began to collect dust and ultimately, I shelved the whole project altogether.

But then several years later, at some point in 2019, my Vistorylizer concept notebook containing all my scribbled ideation designs resurfaced unexpectedly. I poured through all of my original notes and subsequently realized that my visual storytelling measurement ideas were *still* viable. Coincidentally, I was also nearing the end of my Media Psychology master’s and the subject of my thesis was focused on visual media and visual storytelling.

In light of these happenings, the rediscovery of my original Vistorylizer appdev ideas managed to resurface during this opportune time, academically speaking.

By early 2020, more than six years since my initial ideation for Vistorylizer, I decided to blend my master’s thesis work (infused with media psychology contexts) with my 2014-inspired visual storytelling measurement appdev plans. It was this merging that gave rise to this Vistorylizer tool, which today operates more like a "visual media pulse checking tool" for image-centric communications across Twitter.

Questions?

If you have any questions about how Vistorylizer got its start or about the tool itself, drop me an email at mayra@ruizmcpherson.com

Thank you,
Mayra

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, MA, MFA
Positive Media Psychologist • Experience/Creative/Digital Strategist • Tech Ethicist
Ruiz McPherson | Transmedia, LLC