Blog Pile

Distilling inbound links via and Furl

This is one of those found be serendipity things, what happens when you just freely poke around the web. Maybe it is obvious to many others, but it’s new to me. Some folks rely on technorati for taking a pulse of links going to their content, and it sure provides some good insight. I just blindly stumbled into two ways to look at how other people are connecting to specific URLs you may be responsible for (or just curious about).

So it started with an email notification of a Trackback from my post first on A Cup of Connotea: A New Flavor of Social Bookmarking (and now a 4 in 1 bookmark tool) and a new site created to be a “Delicious-Furl-Connotea-Bag” bookmarklet tool, now abbreviated to Site Submission MultiTool– Alan’s Marklet Maker.

Now although Trackback is now a spam problem and many smarter than I think it is the wrong mode of communication, I still get somehing out of it, because almost daily, Trackback connects me to some other blog author I had never heard of.

Well, this one lead me to German site I could not read, but it had an RSS feed displayed of a “furl” tag in (isn’t that an interesting mix!): where I saw my little page listed (and it was but 2 weeks old), with an indication it had been tagged by 142 other people (yikes! better check the spelling on that page!):


And clicking that pink link gives me a URL for all the other users who had tagged it:

Now my hunch is that the long numeric string on the end of the URL is a “hash” or a conversion of the URL to a unique string to identify it, so there is no direct way to build it via a URL alone. You see that a majority of posts are made without extended descriptions, and the ones there are perhaps from people who have modified their bookmarklets to include the selected text from a highlighted web poge (a feature built into my Marklet Maker). But there are some ways, I have yet to do more than ponder, to look at who is delicious-ing particular sites.

So I jumped over to Furl to see if it has something similar, lo and behold it does, and even easier to use. The “About This Link” page has a form field to type in a URL–, so plugging my URL in there gives me a listing of 81 Furl members who have “Furled” this URL, listed first by ones that include comments, and then links to others lacking comments.

I am not writing this solely to toot my own porcupine horn and say, “Wow, 81 people Furled me”, but to suggest to look into your tools and see if there are less subtle ways they offer to examine their large holdings. Data is just data in a database, and lacks meaning until we interpret, analyze, conjecture it. I find a more interesing curiosity into who is Furling, why, what they got out of it.. Back to Small Pieces Loosely Joined

Hyperlinks are not just an incidental feature of the Web. They are what turn the Web from a library of pages into a web… nothing on the Web is independent of us and our meanings and our interests… On the Web, there’s only passion, words, and the presence of others, in grand, shifting, ineffably messy relationships. Those connections bind us into something more than we are as individual pieces of organized matter; the are what’s most real on the Web.” [SPLJ pp170-171]

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan,

    Thanks for your tool and for these interesting comments.

    Please note you can monitor the MultiTool using the RSS provided by Durl –

    Also, even the results are partial, it is interesting to see the MultiTool Conversation Seed at BlogPulse –


  2. I am not exactly sure what you mean Marshall by “he furl window comes up w/o title or url in it”- if you mean when you are doing your bookmarking, it might be because we web site is in frames– the JavaScript may not be able to pluck the ifno out of a framed web page.

    And all of these are temporal, so I would not be confident that they will not go up in smoke someday.

  3. Thanks Carmen too! I had not seen durl in a while, but it has a lot going for it, many more tools for digging out tidbits of link details. And BlogPulse picked up many more references than I got via Trackbacks…

  4. Alan, thanks for your response. What I mean is that when I click on your tool in my toolbar, the delicious window opens just fine, but half the time the Furl window opens without the title of the page to be bookmarked or its url in the furl fields where they should appear. if I close the furl window that your tool popped up and open just the furl it! tool by itself then the title and url do appear. I don’t know that it has anything to do with frames, but I’ll try to pay attention to wether that’s the case or not. It’s a problem with about 50% of the pages i try to bookmark with your tool, which is a bummer, because I love what you did. I’m just not able to use it right now. Any further feedback would be great.

  5. Marshall,

    I can not even guess your Furl issue without knowing what web browser/version/ opeating system you use and a web site that exhibits the behavior. It is possible it is a browser issue, as JavaScript is not 100% reliable across the array of browsers/versions/and phases of the moon.

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