Friday, February 6, 2009

Simple Tools, Multiple Uses.

An open letter to Walter Mossberg.

Mossberg!

I saw your recent column on Foxmarks.

Saving your solitary bookmarks, keeping them private, sorting them in a tree-and-folder structure, worrying about moving them around--that is so adorable, so web 1.0.  As if they're mp3's you bought that you can't legally share.  

Dude--get social!  It's the Age of Obama.  
  • SHARE your bookmarks.  
  • TAG them, don't put them in folders.  
  • LEARN from the wisdom of crowds what's up-and-coming.

Use Delicious!  

Tag sites with your OWN tags--whatever you like.  Forget folders--where a page is in one folder OR another.  Tags let you imagine each website page as an intersection or multiple properties.  They're your own tags--so you can use your own folksonomy. (Google it).

Add comments. Give your HO (humble opinion). Ballyhoo a site, or just set yourself a reminder.

Your links are shared with everyone--and you can search to see what other people are finding, tagging and sharing.

Or make your tags private. It's your choice.

The web is a social medium. You should use it that way.

Best,
Edward O'Neill, Ph.D.
Instructional Media Specialist
Stanford University

P.S.  I'm normally skeptical of the pro-social media rhetoric.  But the point I think is always right is:  a general use tool that's simple is almost always better than a tool dedicated to ONE function.  

Saving and syncing bookmarks--that's one function.  Tagging, sharing, publishing--that's a general use.  

Look at Twitter.  It publishes SMS-size tidbits.  But people can use it as email, microblogging, marketing, brand management, citizen journalism, trend monitoring--you name it.  

In Web 2.0 the specialized tool is almost never as powerful as the simple tool with a hundred uses.  

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