Bookmarking

Delicious II

Yahoo sunset 2010

That image from last December.

And after the “decision” to sunset, what? Rumour and speculation. And … a service that began to seem like a ghost town, as far as my network went.

So a little while ago (15 March), I moved over to Pinboard, decoupling, at last, the feeds for my Delicious account and this blog. Maybe Delicious will gain a good new owner and there’ll be life after Yahoo!. But I’m not banking on it.

Pinboard is reliable, fast and lithe. It’s incredibly easy to use and responsive to search. I’m using it far more than I had been Delicious — because it’s so quick to come back at me with the goods. But I miss the social, the enhanced chance of discovery. In Sticking With Delicious, Paul covered well the reasons why one might stay: ‘what’s always made Delicious most useful to me is its network pages in general, and mine in particular … [Pinboard] has a network, but you can only see your own, and friend finding is basically impossible’. (You can always ‘enter someone’s nick and see if they exist’ — The Post-Delicious World, of course, and there’s the independent Delicious → Pinboard username mapper.) Or, as Matt Haughey put it, ‘my Pinboard feed is personally useful, but socially uninteresting. And therein lies the rub … As a personal archive tool, it’s pretty impressive, as a shared space to find interesting bookmarks, it’s problematic. In the end, I’ll likely continue using Delicious to track bookmarks with Pinboard as a backup/archive tool that I’ll gladly continue to pay for’.

Well, time came to move on. And in truth, my network had mostly migrated to a number of other scattered sites, services and feeds.

(Previously, as they say, in Delicious (I), I picked out this by Paulsnagged via my Tumblr:

This fracturing of the network is a huge loss, no matter whether all the people you’re following wind up on the same service you do or otherwise.

Aye.)

Pinboard support is also fast — and personal (Maciej is patient, even with my stumblings). And I really like the way it aspires to archive not just pages but dependencies (find the post, ‘Bookmark Archives That Don’t’, dated 25 Nov, 2010: ‘in 2010 I don't believe it makes any sense to try to archive bookmarks if you’re not willing to resolve dependencies’). It’s sometimes proved better at this than Evernote.

Moving over, importing all my data from Delicious, was straightforward.

You can find me on Pinboard, or subscribe to my Pinboard feed


Delicious (I)

I started blogging in November 2003 and my first use of Delicious was on 12 July, 2004. I see that many of my entries for that July are, unsurprisingly, tagged “blogging_community”. They’re still there in Delicious, but I can’t find them via the timeline of pages unless I reverse sort these. Is the Delicious edifice crumbling? I’m glad I’ve a number of local backups dating back over the years. But that is matter for another post.

When I started using Delicious, it was almost entirely as a prop to help me get up to speed with everything I was discovering online. Those years were hectic. I remember when I first started teaching what a learning curve there was and how weekends and nights, in term and holiday alike, disappeared in preparation, reading and marking for at least the first three years (made the more intense as I evolved into an English teacher, a subject I’d last studied formally in my mid-teens). We all know these periods of unavoidable, passionate engagement as we close with a new subject, a new discipline, a new pursuit.

I look back now to another time when, rather late to the party, I began to register what the arrival of the accessible read-write web meant. It was in November 2003, with the birth of TypePad, that it first hit me: a long period, where what had been hard — requiring coding skills that divided the world into the few who had them and the rest of us who, most decidedly, did not, was coming to an end and the ready ability to publish and be heard (who knew by whom?) was upon us. I knew then that I wanted to be involved in this, the future-already-becoming-the-present.

So, for a long while, Delicious, for me, was nearly all about discovery and very rapid note-taking, itself requiring the investment of much time, if I were to gain even a basic grasp of all this stuff. I learned to read fast but attentively, précis-by-excerpt, tag and bookmark, binding knowledge together in a way that had to do duty in the absence of something more adequate (no appropriate memory theatre, then or now).

Back then, as soon as TypePad made it straightforward to use FeedBurner (June 2006?), it seemed to me right to link together the feed for this blog and that of Delicious (a decision I probably wouldn’t make today, were I starting over). Blogging and bookmarking seemed like the two leaves of a diptych in a period when the pace was both frenetic and apparently inexorably determined by technological change.

Things haven’t got slower (as if — though I think I can now be, and am, more discriminating, both knowing more and being a bit the wiser), but my reading habits have certainly changed. With extensive commuting (c 160 miles a day), the time on a train to read and, more significantly, the year-long experience of using an iPad and Instapaper whilst being connected, the way I work, read and think has changed.

One of the pleasures of living in a more connected world is the constant discovery that changes you thought peculiar to you are going on, simultaneously, in others. I noted Read It Later’s post last week, Is Mobile Affecting When We Read?. I can certainly identify with the use of whitespace time, but I’ve been more struck in the last few months with how I’m storing material up in Instapaper, going back to it, archiving things that once I would have bookmarked straightaway in Delicious, ruminating over others and then, finally, sending myself an email reminder to bookmark X later. And later frequently, now, means Saturday — when I have the time to deal with what has become a sizeable backlog. More filtering happens at that stage, too.

Delicious (backed up locally and in Pinboard) has assumed a different role in my life. No longer the bank of preference for instant notes, it’s where I’m putting things that I’ve generally sifted or gone back to (sometimes a number of times). (Of course, some things still seem worth bookmarking at once, but the reason for that can itself turn out to be depressingly ephemeral.) I’m much more interested now, much more able now, to use Delicious as a repository for things which I’ve had the time, and the perspective, to weigh.

All of which makes Delicious, or something like it, even more important. And I haven’t even begun to talk about the network.


del.icio.us: it's not just the bookmarks …

I won't have been the only blogger surprised by TechCrunch's "two-part" story about del.icio.us: first this, then this.

In the latter, Yahoo's own figures:

  • Page views, usage and new registrations have been increasing at least 10% month over month this year
  • Del.icio.us is at all time highs with daily registrations, daily posts and active monthly unique users
  • Over 53 million posts (on 25 million URLs) have been created on del.icio.us to date, and that post growth has increased 250% since the acquisition

They also mentioned that they’ve grown from twenty servers at the time of the acquisition to over 100 today, and that any perceived lack of new feature launches is due to a move to the Yahoo MyWeb platform from the legacy del.icio.us platform.

Last Thursday, there was news on the del.icio.us blog of innovations related to networking. The Yahoo! Search blog explained the background:

del.icio.us started out as a tool for helping you remember interesting things you find on the Web, but it quickly grew into something more: a unique online community where the actions of individuals provide very real and immediate benefits to others. When you use del.icio.us to bookmark and tag a Web page, you're also automatically helping other people find that page, and you're also contributing to a cooperative effort to make the Web more understandable.

As the del.icio.us community has grown, what we've found is that it's not just the bookmarks that are interesting – it's the people, too. del.icio.us is filling up with people who are building collections of really interesting, relevant, timely links on a huge range of subjects. These people and their collections are every bit as interesting as the links themselves. Imagine if you could find these people as easily as you find links by searching del.icio.us or the Web.

The del.icio.us community. Back in February I noted:

I am also committed to del.icio.us because of its user base. Joshua said last week that del.icio.us is not a community — there are no conversations and the aim is instead to let individuals and communities use del.icio.us — but I value it very much for the way it enhances so much my eyes and ears: because I know people through it, most of whom I may never have met physically, whose expertise or interests add to or complement mine, I find news, ideas, research, etc that I would not come across outside of del.icio.us. My del.icio.us inbox is, in effect, a net in which to catch "interestingness" — web interestingness. (del.icio.us as an attention lens.) **And**: tagging! So hard to put my finger on this, but what the people whose eyes and ears I've come to trust (whose judgement and taste have become important to me) choose to tag pages with is often provoking and interesting in its own right and builds its own kind of … community network.

The moving of user subscriptions from 'inbox' to 'your network' back in April was announced on the del.icio.us blog with these words:

del.icio.us users discover interesting things on the Web every day. We want to make it easier for you to find and connect to these people, so that you can benefit from their knowledge and they can benefit from yours.  Today the “inbox” feature lets you subscribe to other users’ bookmarks, but most people don’t know about it and it’s not terribly easy to use in your everyday life. To make sharing easier, we’ve just released a new feature called “your network”.

When Yahoo! bought del.icio.us last December, Greg Yardley wrote:

… most importantly, the del.icio.us acquisition says ‘hey, community is worth something.’  The technology behind del.icio.us was easily duplicated - thanks to the open-source clone de.lirio.us and the social-app-building service Ning anyone can start a similar service, just like Yahoo did with My Web 2.0. It’s the del.icio.us community that can’t be duplicated. Yahoo didn’t buy del.icio.us’ technology; it bought our bookmarks and tags …

He then went on to write (in February) that 'It’s becoming obvious to me that Yahoo hasn’t changed del.icio.us and Flickr much since their acquisition because they just don’t understand them'. I'd question this.  The technological infrastructure of del.icio.us has improved greatly since December (to judge from current performance) and the interface has grown in sophistication and usefulness in ways that haven't overwhelmed the user as I'd feared might happen (Yahoo! messiness/over-serving).

Much more importantly, the post by Bradley Horowitz that Greg Yardley was responding to in February seems to me to have foretold the way things have unfolded with del.icio.us since last December. Greg took Horowitz in this way:

The majority of commenters seemed to love Horowitz’s post.  I think it’s a good reason to short Yahoo - that pyramid’s a .44 caliber shot in the foot. Once you start believing 90% of your audience is passive you can’t help but shape your existing communities and design new ones with the passive consumers in mind.

What I took away from Horowitz was this:

Mostly this is just an observation, and a simple statement:  social software sites don’t require 100% active participation to generate great value.

That being said, I’m a huge believer in removing obstacles and barriers to entry that preclude participation.  One of the reasons I think Flickr is so compelling is that both the production and consumption is so damn easy. … One direction we (i.e. both Yahoo and the industry) are moving is implicit creation. … The act of consumption … itself an act of creation, no additional effort expended …

Without anyone explicitly voting, and without disrupting the natural activity on the site, Flickr surfaces fantastic content in a way that constantly delights and astounds.  In this case lurkers are gently and transparently nudged toward remixers, adding value to others’ content.

Flickr is not del.icio.us, but, mutatis mutandis, I find there's something in what Horowitz describes that's suggestive of what's afoot now at del.icio.us: it's not difficult to participate, it's not hard to start finding users/bookmarks/tags with "interestingness", it's easy to network and to be networked — and in this way del.icio.us surfaces "fantastic content" (links + comment/excerpt; tags; original or challenging patterns of thinking, ways of seeing …). It's a community of users, howsoever different from Flickr, and the act of consumption is itself an act of creation.

In many ways, I am using del.icio.us to see the world through the eyes of people whose understanding of things and use of the net interest, stimulate and challenge me. It's not suprising, then, that, more than ever, I want to know how Yahoo! sees the relationship of search, MyWeb2 and del.icio.us.

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Ma.gnolia

For a few days now, I've been running a Ma.gnolia account — here. At first glance, it resembles del.icio.us after a trip to the beautician: as I said to Todd Sieling, product manager, 'The GUI you're using is simply stunning — very beautiful, easy on the eye, a pleasure to work with — clear and informative: enough info, links, option choices, etc, but not noisy'.

Importing my del.icio.us bookmarks was easy, and Todd tells me that Ma.gnolia will 'make a saved copy when a bookmark is added, regardless of how, though it will be a while until you see saved copies of all your bookmarks. The process takes a little while with so many bookmarks'. Tag editing will come ('removal and other management tools are on the way') and other ideas that didn't make it into this beta public release (eg, 'a dead link report at the end of an import that will let people follow up on or remove bookmarks that get no response when we try to make the saved copy') will no doubt make an appearance at some stage.

Nick Chapman's Greasemonkey script for copying individual del.icio.us bookmarks works well, but it would be really useful to be able to post a bookmark simultaneously to both del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia.  In fact, great as Nick's script is, there's an appreciable use of time involved in copying across several bookmarks by this means, and since I imported my bank of del.icio.us bookmarks I've made many more and just haven't got round to copying them into Magnolia.

So will I use Ma.gnolia? Todd on the Ma.gnolia/del.icio.us contrasts:

  • Ma.gnolia offers a very different design for a different kind of social bookmarking experience. We prefer focus and ease of use over large amounts of information on a page, and believe that while del.icio.us' way of presenting information works for some people, it doesn't work for the average web user. Both approaches are valid, but neither works for everyone. One way to think about it is that del.icio.us is more like Linux and Ma.gnolia is more like Mac OS - different values, appealing to different sensibilities.
  • Bookmark Ratings give you a chance to differentiate yours and other people's bookmarks for quality.
  • Saved Copies of web pages at the time you bookmark them, so you won't be lost if a bookmarked page disappears since you bookmarked it.
  • Make Contacts of other members to easily watch their collections and to directly share bookmarks with others.
  • Private Bookmarks.
  • Groups, both public and private.
  • Import from browsers and other services.

I love the interface of Ma.gnolia but am wedded to the bare-bones simplicity, the GTD-effectiveness of del.icio.us; nevertheless, to be able to post simultaneously to Ma.gnolia, given that it's making a copy of each bookmarked page, would be good. I'm not fussed at all about privacy — though I know from the del.icio.us discussion lists that some users want this. And if I want to share my bookmarks, it's easy for a friend or contact to take my del.icio.us feed and follow what I'm tagging. Nothing is hidden: look!

I am also committed to del.icio.us because of its user base. Joshua said last week that del.icio.us is not a community — there are no conversations and the aim is instead to let individuals and communities use del.icio.us — but I value it very much for the way it enhances so much my eyes and ears: because I know people through it, most of whom I may never have met physically, whose expertise or interests add to or complement mine, I find news, ideas, research, etc that I would not come across outside of del.icio.us. My del.icio.us inbox is, in effect, a net in which to catch "interestingness" — web interestingness. (del.icio.us as an attention lens.) **And**: tagging! So hard to put my finger on this, but what the people whose eyes and ears I've come to trust (whose judgement and taste have become important to me) choose to tag pages with is often provoking and interesting in its own right and builds its own kind of … community network.

Todd is interviewed here and explains in more detail some of the thinking behind Ma.gnolia. Also reported there is Jeffrey Zeldman, who speaks about the design. They may indeed have concocted a service that will have wide appeal to end-users not yet into social-bookmarking. Moreover, as this interview makes clear, Ma.gnolia is aiming to create its own user-community:

Our approach moves beyond just sharing bookmarks. We want to make bookmarking more about collaboration and about bringing attention to what the community is looking at through our Hot Bookmarks and Hot Tags sidebar items. Sharing across channels and looking at interests as an aspect of both individuals and a community will make for a different kind of experience than Del.icio.us has done well with.

But you know, I don't see the market as being dominated by anyone right now. There are still lots of people out there who haven't even heard of social bookmarking, or didn't know you could simply store your bookmarks online. We hope to reach those people with a style and way of working that will appeal to them. And when you look at all the cool ways that people are mashing up web services and remixing data, I think there's more to be had in thinking about the cooperative opportunities than what competition will be like. Sure we want people to like what we offer, but it doesn't have to be at the expense of someone else's service.

As for the name, you need to go here to understand it.

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Weird feed behaviour

1) I've had to decouple FeedDemon 1.6 RC2 (a beta) from NewsGator: the synching between the two had gone haywire, ever since a problem that developed some time around 28 December at the NewsGator end of things, and it was driving me nuts.

2) More to the point here, apologies to my FeedBurner subscribers: FeedBurner has a range of services on offer — PingShot service and FeedFlare — and, I'm not sure, but changing my options on both of these seems to have set off a riot in that feed, posts reappearing as unread a number of times and (most recently) a strange 'noemail' address appearing entirely unasked for in the headers of posts. I've reset my options within FeedBurner and I hope things will now quieten down again.

For good measure, I've been playing with Technorati tags: in TypePad these have to be entered manually (TypePad's categories are read as Technorati tags, but categories are not the same kind of animal as tags) which is a little bit of work. (Within Firefox, Performancing semi-automates the process for you.) The work's worth it when the tags are read by Technorati, but I'm finding the process more miss than hit. As ever, Dave Sifry is very supportive, but we still haven't cracked the problem. Niall Kennedy at Technorati suggests it may be feed-related, which led me to validate my feed and the feed of a number of blogs. Errors abound everywhere, which made me feel a bit better. I still can't get the Technorati tags to work consistently, though, and the most recent ones have simply gone unnoticed by Technorati's spiders.

Web 2.0. Dontcha just luv it.

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Jeff Jarvis on tagging

Well, I've had a geeky good time with the subject of tags. But this isn't just another valentine to just another cool online trend; we're so over that. No, tags have a larger lesson to teach to media. They present a clear demonstration that the web is not about flat content. The web is about connections and the value that arises from them if you enable people to collect and communicate. In the old, big, centralised, controlled world of media, a few people with a few tools - pencils, presses and Dewey decimals - thought they could organise the world and its content. But as it turns out, left to its own devices, the world is often better at organising itself. Jeff Jarvis, Media Guardian

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David Weinberger at the OII

Back in July, 2004, I came across David Weinberger's post about Three Orders of Organisation, and then I read about his idea of Trees vs Leaves. You can read him on the former here and the latter here. The material behind and in these two postings formed much of the substance of David's seminar at the OII on Wednesday morning. In addition, I've come across a third posting, The end of data?, which also fed in to what he said this week in Oxford. There's a book on the way, Everything Is Miscellaneous — overview here — and there's a summary of an earlier version of yesterday's talk here. Finally, the OII has a webcast of the talk.

The seminar was a whistle stop tour of some "high" points in the development of taxonomies — Aristotle on nesting, Porphyry's tree, Dewey and library classification (David has blogged about Dewey a number of times, eg here and here): 'all of these systems assume there's a top down view of knowledge' and seek to banish ambiguity and present a clear picture of reality/knowledge. Everything in its right place …

But in the bottom-up world of social tagging an item can be in many categories simultaneously (I don't think 'tags' are the same as 'categories', but I'm running here with the general tenor of David's argument), and users are contributors both to the stock of tagged items and to their ordering. In this world, trees will never go away, but we need to stop looking for The Tree. Instead, we should build a big pile of data (leaves), attach as much metadata as possible and filter on the way out not on the way in. Users will do the filtering, and the moment of "taxonomizing" should be postponed until the users need to do it. There is now nothing that is not metadata — data is metadata — and we can no longer predict what users want. Messiness is a virtue.

David sees this bottom-up approach to tagging as a reaction to the semantic web. There is no end to the way the deck of digitalised knowledge in this world can be cut and sliced. (Wikipedia, as Jimmy Wales says, is not paper: for one thing, David said, where the Encyclopedia Britannica restricts itself to 32 printed volumes and 65,000 topics, Wikipedia has no such restrictions and is currently running at some 800,000 entires — including ones on the Deep-fried Mars Bar and, famously, the Heavy Metal Umlaut.) In the world of multi-subjectivity, knowledge is never going to be "perfect". Instead, we must think in terms of 'good enough'. We are living through a revolution, a fundamental change to the way we understand knowledge and our pursuit of it. The global conversation that is the net changes the roles of filters and, therefore, our understanding of what a filter is.

In the questions at the end of his talk, it seemed to me that in fact David is prepared to admit much more nuance and to accept that top-down taxonomies are not going to go away. And, yes, he agreed that the web is both a distributed library as well as being something that is about and for connectivity. It was put to him that the top-down, authoritarian conception of the semantic web is only one model, and that there are other models where the semantic web is bottom up. I share the view developed by him and his questioner at this point, that the net can provide for many different ways of organising knowledge. And I'm sure he's right when he says that soon we will see people making a living through devising new classificatory systems.

There's a problem of scale, too: as David put it, too many taggers can make for an unhelpful, confusing tag-soup, counterable, perhaps, through cluster-analyses intended to disambiguate (eg, Flickr's Capri clusters). But in David's view, if 'good enough' is good enough then scaling should not prove a problem.

So is "good enough" good enough? Tom Chance probed whether it's sufficient in matters more important than the examples David used (eg, beer): when it comes to deciding about nuclear power, 'good enough' is surely short of the mark. My colleague, Ian, linked this point to one about the role of institutions in this new world. They're highly unlikely to go away (!), but the morning's seminar left me in no doubt that trust, and the verification of trust, in institutions is altered by the rise of online, do-it-yourself mass publishing. Yet, as Jonathan Zittrain said in his summing up, the desire for the canonical article on a topic continues.

At the start of his talk David remarked, 'This could be the bright, shiny period of the internet, of openness'. The net gives us many reasons to be happy, but there are many forces at work which may make history of David's visionary presentation. More about this soon.


Three things I'd like to see

'And another thing' — taxi-driver mode.

  • A thorough reform of 'categories' in TypePad. Adding tags to a posting à la Technorati method is not effortless and categories themselves are too broad to be very useful as tags. People have been commenting on all this ever since Technorati implemented their new service back in January (Dave Sifry: 'Technorati now supports Tag Search across leading Social software sites'): eg, Suw Charman ('Until we have a way to automatically tag or create tag suggestions that can be approved or disapproved by the user, we are going to have to rely on people bothering to tag their posts') and Mathibus.com:

There’s one thing that really bugs me about all this: a tag is much more precise than a category. There is no denying that. Take this richly tagged photo of the Star Wars cast, for example. It has a lot of tags, I’m not even counting them. Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with applying that many tags to a photo. In fact, I can imagine people wanting to search for C3P0 on Flickr.

Now, imagine that photo was a blog post you made. Would you create all those new categories, just to apply them to this one post, so it could be spidered by Technorati? I think not!

We need automated, user-friendly tagging processes within TypePad and then the facility to search and exploit these tags. Just compare and contrast where Flickr is now with tags!  A major blogging service, a social software service, needs, by definition, to be affording its users rich opportunities to share, discover and explore, and tags currently have a key role to play here.

In announcing new features at Flickr last week, the most important thing (I think) that Stewart Butterfield had to say was: 'Both interestingness and clustering rely a lot on what people are doing, whether it's with the photos they like, or the tags they are using. You can think about it as people-powered searching' (Yahoo! Search Blog, my italics). Blogging services as we currently know them are very top-down. This may now come to be seen as a curious thing: I wonder how long before a tipping point is reached and people want more freedom to mash and mix and access their and other's data beyond the constraints currently set for them by their service-providers. (Jeff Weiner's got it right: FUSE — find, use, share, expand.)

  • Comments. Another area where blogging software needs to be re-thought. We read each other's stuff, we like certain things, but we're too busy to post a reply/comment — or we don't have anything worth adding beyond, 'I was here, I enjoyed this, thank you'. Jyri made this point (and more) here, providing a mock up of a possible UI here. Something along the lines of gestures is needed to supplement what we already have in comments.
  • Conferences/events. Both at Reboot and Open Tech, I realised only afterwards, reading on the web, that people had been present with whom I've exchanged ideas in emails, or via comments, or whose blogs are, in any case, important to me. Frustrating, as well as bizarre, then, to know you'd been in the same space as them but had had no way of recognising them beyond a name tag — or even, in some cases, of knowing they were even there! I see Thomas posted about just this a little while ago, focusing on the central problem of aggregating identities across digital communities: 'The gap between digital and physical must close'.

(Not the same thing, of course, but this might also be a useful place to remind myself, at least, about those software initiatives being made that are intended to help us discover people nearby who are interested in what we're interested in: Six Sense, Nokia's Sensor … Such programs could be a monumental distraction, but, then again, I think of those times when I've had serendipitous conversations with interesting people at plays, galleries, films. Ways in which I might enable these to happen a little more often would be good.)


    Web 2.0: 'something qualitatively different about today's web'

    'Web 2.0' is a big, fat target of a term, but it's not just hype. Tim O'Reilly:

    The reason that the term "Web 2.0" has been bandied about so much since Dale Dougherty came up with it a year and a half ago in a conference planning session (leading to our Web 2.0 Conference) is because it does capture the widespread sense that there's something qualitatively different about today's web. … Web 2.0 is the era when people have come to realize that it's not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web. Web 1.0 was the era when people could think that Netscape (a software company) was the contender for the computer industry crown; Web 2.0 is the era when people are recognizing that leadership in the computer industry has passed from traditional software companies to a new kind of internet service company. The net has replaced the PC as the platform that matters, just as the PC replaced the mainframe and minicomputer.

    Richard MacManus sums it up: 'what Web 2.0 means to me - everyday, non-technical people using Web technologies to enhance their own lives and businesses. The Web is an infrastructure, a foundation. What we create and build on the Web is what Web 2.0 is all about.' Richard quotes Ian Davis, 'Web 2.0 is an attitude not a technology', who goes on to say:

    It’s about enabling and encouraging participation through open applications and services. By open I mean technically open with appropriate APIs but also, more importantly, socially open, with rights granted to use the content in new and exciting contexts. Of course the web has always been about participation, and would be nothing without it. It’s single greatest achievement, the networked hyperlink, encouraged participation from the start. Somehow, through the late nineties, the web lost contact with its roots and selfish interests took hold. This is why I think the Web 2.0 label is cunning: semantically it links us back to that original web and the ideals it championed, but at the same time it implies regeneration with a new version. Technology has moved on and it’s important that the social face of the web keeps pace.

    Davis also talks about Web 2.0, the Semantic Web, XML and RDF. (And smushing — not come across that before! Got to pass smushing on to the OED.)

    Incidentally, I then went on to read Ian Davis' most recent post, 'Searching Folksonomies':

    … I don’t actually visit del.icio.us all that often. For me, del.icio.us is a write-only environment. I fire and forget. I’m bookmarking because I might one day want to go back and use find it but in practice I rarely do. I seem to remember that the last time I did try to find something I’d bookmarked, I couldn’t remember the tags I’d used or even if I had bookmarked it and I ended up with Google anyway. … the fact of the matter is that tagging systems and folksonomies are great for organising, but boy do they suck when it comes to finding something. Google still wins hands down  …

    He suggests a Web 2.0 solution — 'I want all the pages I’ve bookmarked to be searched and shown first whenever I search in Google. Maybe I could do this as an extension to Google desktop, but a better solution would be for Google to allow me to register my RSS feeds with them. Then, they could subscribe to my feeds to learn what I’ve recently read or bookmarked and show those at the top of any search results. That would be extremely cool and infinitely useful!'

    And by association, this: I haven't yet been able to import my del.icio.us bookmarks into Yahoo's My Web. Despite following the instructions, I always arrive at an error page: 'Sorry, we were unable to detect a valid feed'. Unless, that is, I use a backup from several months ago: 850 bookmarks as opposed to nearly 2000. Is there an upper limit to how many bookmarks My Web can import at one time?