The Yearbook World of Scott Geesey

from Jostens Yearbooks of central/northern Pennsylvania


TOTAL STORYTELLING: What's the Story With This Idea? It's Telling Many Stories About EVERYONE

Hello! Wow, what a change,,,hot and sticky most of the last two weeks, and then really cool over the weekend. I actually slipped on a pair of sweatpants and that felt GOOD after too much sweating recently. .

This week is important of course. The 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is this Tuesday. For those old enough to remember - that day that changed history was also on a Tuesday. Let us never forget what happened that day. Never.

Social Media users - Jostens has terrific resources on FOUR different social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. For Jostens schools, use the easy links right on your Yearbook Avenue log-in page at - the links are right at the bottom of the page. Check them out, all of them if you wish, for tons of great ideas for your yearbooking effort this year, frequently refreshed with new information.

And from last week's update, be sure to check out our cool Jostens Yearbook Love website at Recently refreshed with new information, look for great ideas there all year long including numerous activities for yearbook classes and clubs.

Yearbooking - it isn't just about a book anymore...

For several years now I've used the slogan "the world has changed and we need to change with it." And up above I added this quote to the website two years ago "You do matter, we are interested in you, and we're going to tell your story." And I prefer the term "yearbooking" rather than just "yearbook." What does all of that mean?

It's the 21st century, with technology everywhere. A great majority of people now have smartphones and use them frequently to call, to text, to surf the web, to take pictures and watch videos. I've joked to students that many people live a lot of their lives on their "gadgets" these days - but is it a joke? Not really.

In recent years I've heard the question from some people - is the yearbook going extinct? After all, with the explosion in technology in recent years and some schools now giving every student a laptop or tablet computer to use, an old fashioned book seems so....old.

However I couldn't disagree more. Yes, I own an iPad and enjoy reading novels and non-fiction books on it. Textbooks are slowly going electronic and learning appears to be going fully electronic in the coming years.

But a yearbook is a very unique one-of-a-kind item and one that students have always had a need to hold in their hands. Also add in the signing aspect, getting their friends to sign those valued messages on the inside to be kept forever. It doesn't need batteries, need to be recharged, and won't be affected by the changes in technology that are almost inevitable to happen over the years.

But the web and smartphones and tablets and apps are out there so how can we use them as part of our yearbook memory keeping experience? Enter what I call Total Storytelling. How do we use the best of both worlds?

Jostens is ready. Our website and app for each school are slowly changing the yearbook game, allowing a Jostens school to have both of those worlds. I am strongly encouraging every school to fully embrace usage of ReplayIt through the entire school year, and there's one key - while the yearbook comes out just once a year, in May or June or August, the ReplayIt site/app is ongoing 24/7 for folks to enjoy any time and runs all the way through the end of the school year.

And with no memory limit, ReplayIt can hold thousands of extra images and descriptions that your book simply doesn't have room for, and all is archived at the end of the year in your digital Time Capsule. Now everything and even everyone from your school can have their story told and remembered for years to come, making your entire yearbooking effort far more valuable.

How can we make your yearbook effort more interactive for everyone in your school to enjoy? With ReplayIt anyone can upload their own storytelling photos for all to experience and kept for years. With regular promotion and outreach now we can get your entire school involved and engaged - what else can say that? Our Jostens moderating staff will be kept quite busy this year checking out every single image uploaded, even those from Facebook pages, to make sure they are appropriate for viewing. Yearbook advisers have full control over everything that is viewed online, especially watching for those handful of students who shouldn't be pictured.

You also have the ability for every yearbook staff to upload videos to their website and app. Now we can add sound and movement to the storytelling and that changes everything. Pictures are great, many pictures are even better, but videos really round out the storytelling. Once again there is no memory limit and I am encouraging staffs to upload dozens of videos on various subjects this year - clips of sports games, the Homecoming Queen being crowned, fun in the snow, the school science fair, a tour of your town, lunch at your school, whatever you wish.

And then consider using so-called augmented reality with the free HP Reveal service (formerly Aurasma now at to add an extra layer of interactivity. Now you can link a video to an image in your book or elsewhere and your audience can use the Reveal app (with a link through your ReplayIt app) to scan the image and launch the video.

Storytelling isn't just passive reading anymore, now students can actively get involved in discovering stories. For my Jostens advisers, go to your YBA Digital Classroom and enter Aurasma in the search bar for lessons and details on setting up your own Aurasma account.

And of course there's social media. Too many yearbook staffs do nothing with social media despite nearly every student using it nearly every day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are probably the biggest ones. Do a student survey to see what your audience prefers to use and check, then setup your own channel there. Use your social media channel to not only alert folks to news and notes, but use it for even more of your storytelling. Pictures, videos, brief stories - now everyone can be covered on a regular basis.

This is TOTAL STORYTELLING. This is YEARBOOKING. We at Jostens have worked hard to build the technology to accomplish this, from our terrific Yeartech software tools and the fantastic Monarch service providing Adobe InDesign and Photoshop online, to the amazing Yearbook Avenue website and all its tools, to the flexible and growing website and smartphone app. No other competitor comes close and I'm anxious to see how my yearbook partners use this mix of great tools to tell the story of your school and its people this year and remembered for years to come. And you know all about social media.

C'mon, don't wait, let's get started!!