Quite honestly, I’m not much into online social networks. A membership with sites like MySpace or Facebook doesn’t appeal to me since I don’t see what the benefit would be, and although I’m a member, I don’t have a use for Flickr or YouTube at the moment. Nevertheless, I appreciate the existence of these networks because they allow me to find information or look up stuff I like, for example I check out new music through MySpace.
Today I want to introduce you to a different type of social network that can help you collect material about the things you like. While you expand your profile, collect links and connect with others, you’re teaching the tool what you like and it will suggest more things you may be interested in. Could that be your thing?
Twine is a semantic web application and a new type of social network. The idea is to have one central place where you can collect, organize, discover and share anything you find relevant, with the semantic side of the tool tracking your interests and helping you discover more things you may like.
Twine unites many different elements of other platforms such as Digg and Delicious. Here is a summary of its most important features:
- social bookmarking
- archive for things found online or things you upload
- user groups (Twines) to share and discover topic-based material
- blog style posts to add items, which can also be commented by others
- recommendations for you to discover related things
Getting started always is the most difficult part, but it’s rather simple with Twine. Given you are convinced this might be your thing, you should jump right into it. Sign up, create a profile, list your interests, add the bookmarklet (get it, it’s useful!), explore the most popular Twines (groups) and join ones you like.
From there it’s easy. Twine has already learned a little bit about you and will continue to learn as you’re using it. It will soon start suggesting other Twines or people you may be interested in. For now you can follow the Twines you joined through your Interest Feed or join eMail updates, browse Twines randomly, collect posts you really like (note the share and collect buttons over each post), eventually connect to others who seem to enjoy the same things you do, and most of all submit your own material.
You should start at least one personal Twine, so you can add stuff that may not fit into any of the Twines you’re a member of or to keep some of the things you add private. Once you come across something on the web you would like to add, use the Twine bookmarklet you were offered during signup and you’ll see it’s extremely convenient to use! Alternatively, you can manually add stuff through the website’s Add Item menu, as pictured below.
Once you get the hang of things you may become a regular contributor to existing Twines and/or feed and promote your own Twines. Either way, information will now be flowing into channels and you can potentially gain a lot from it, without having to cruise half a dozen pages for pretty much the same effect. You can stay informed and entertained in an organized way, while socializing (sort of) at the same time.
For a much more detailed review also covering the technology behind Twine please visit Think Artificial.
So what do you say, could this be your thing? It certainly is my thing!
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