Will wrote today about his mild wonderment on his time spent roaming blogs, furl-ing and webnoting interesting web sites:
So I had about 90 minutes of true blogging flow this morning, reading the latest in my Bloglines aggregator, clicking on links, Furling interesting posts, and stealing paragraphs here and there and saving them as a Webnote. When I was in the midst of it, it all seemed to connect, the tools working seamlessly together, each with its distinct purpose. I really did get lost in it, which is either a moment of higher understanding of all of this or a sad comment on my geeky existence. There was so much good stuff to read, so much that I wanted to write about and explore further. So much mental exercise at 6:30 in the morning as the sun came up over the soccer field outside my window. It was very Zen.
Now, however, it’s very overwhelming. I’ve got this growing mountain of ideas and snippets of some very smart people, and I’m wondering what to do with it. Why, exactly, am I Furling, Webnoting, blogging my time away? Now that I am able to capture all of this information, what exactly do I do with it?
I’d have to say it is about the best way (now) to manage the glut of information we later writes about. Using an RSS reader to monitor more than 100 education or technology related web sites, to me, is an efficient way to monitor the pulse of information technology. Without it, there would be no way I could daily (or three times a day) check each site. It has led me to sources and people (such as Will’s Weblog-ed) I would have never known.
My usual acid test for technologies are: Do they do something for me I could not do without them?
Furl has emerged currently as a best way (now) to manage interesting sites I don;t really have time or want to write more extensively about on the blog. Using the bookmarklet tool, I can furl a potentially interesting site in less than 60 seconds (Coming soon to a geek theater “Furled in 60 seconds”), but the key feature is being able to search for them later when I cannot remember that cool site that had the interactive timeline for art history.
The current technology of “bookmarks” is as ancient as the first web browser Mosaic. You cannot search them (almost 10 years later), they are tied to your computer… they are just plain kludgy, like wearing your 1970s leisure suit to a social function.
I had stopped using browser bookmarks eons ago for the reason I could never find things in them- they wasted my time and frustrated me. In fact, the reason I originally created our “Bag of URLs” site in 1996 was purely self-serving- to have a searchable interface to all the sites I had saved (and to have a web site description, another sadly lacking feature of browser bookmarks or so awkward to add it is self-defeating).
And it is very likely that more people may be accessing your public shared stuff then you realize. I find that m ost web content creators forget this fact that they never really see any trace of the people who use their content, that people may use it in ways you did not expect, and that the majority will never tell you they were there.
I cannot supply the “why” to Will’s wondering why he is doing this instead of taking a walk in the park or flying a kite or washing the car…. but to em there is some amount of personal gain (efficiency, information management, sheer fun) and the notion (false?) that it may actually benefit someone else out there.