These days it’s completely impossible to keep up with all of the “Web 2.0″ apps out there. I read eHub and TechCrunch and it seems like dozens of social software apps are released in beta (or even alpha!) each day. Social browsers, collaborative editing tools, RSS aggregators, social search, mashups of other social software apps and so much more. I’m not sure whether to be excited or to be cynical (see Web Two Point Oh! for a laugh). I’m concerned about the amount of investment in companies that release half-finished software that really doesn’t do that much (bubble anyone?). But I’m excited by the possible applications of social software — and the “Web 2.0″ philosophy — on libraries.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels completely overwhelmed (but excited) about what’s going on in social software. So I thought I’d point out some stuff I’ve been playing with and reading that seemed interesting.
Here are some applications I’ve been playing with that I think are pretty neat:
Blummy – not only does it have an adorable name, but this is something I really needed since there was no room left on my toolbar for bookmarklets. Rather than having lots of bookmarklets crowding your toolbar you just have blummy. As it says on their front page, “it’s a kind of drop down menu consisting of widgets (called blummlets) that provide rich functionality. It works on every page on the web. Just click on it at your toolbar.”
schtuff – is a wiki application with something I think is particularly brilliant — threaded comments. It’s doesn’t have a pretty interface like PBWiki, but if you’re collaboratively editing a document, threaded comments are a dream come true. That’s really the only thing that keeps me from using collaborative editing applications like Writely. Having a discussion tab or a place for comments is essential in a wiki (I still don’t understand why PBWiki doesn’t have them!).
KiskRSS – This application allows you to pull a bunch feeds together and display them on one page. It displays the posts all together chronologically as if they were all one blog. You can also search the feeds. Check out the cool example that Steven Cohen created!
Goowy – There are a lot of virtual desktops out these days, but Goowy really stands out for me. First of all, they use Flash 8 instead of AJAX. They provide two really terrific applications — an RSS reader and e-mail. You actually get your own @goowy.com address. The widgets (del.icio.us, Technorati, Flickr, and all the usual suspects) and the calendar app are nice too. Best of all, but worst for productivity, they have a lot of fun games including Sonic the Hedgehog and Tetris. I don’t imagine that Goowy is going to make me more productive — I wasted an hour on Sonic last night — but it’s a really interesting application to play with. And I had no idea you could do so much with Flash! I just tried out Netvibes and I’m very impressed with it too, even though it doesn’t have Sonic.
SuprGlu – With so many social software applications scattered around the Web, our web content can also become scattered. I have stuff on my blog, at blinklist, on my wikis, at Flickr, etc. SuprGlu allows you to create a really cute web page using basically anything that has an RSS feed associated with it. It’s a whole lot like KickRSS. My only gripe is that it doesn’t create an RSS feed for the whole kit and kaboodle, trapping my integrated content on their page. It’s like, so Me 2.0 (so lame!).
Here are some articles I’ve been reading on Web 2.0 and social software:
- Library 2.0 Movement Sees Benefits in Collaboration with Patrons by Jason Boog in Publish. (he mentioned the Library Success Wiki! Woo hoo!
- Finding “the life between buildings”: An approach for defining a weblog community by Lilia Efimova, Stephanie Hendrick, and Anjo Anjewierden
- Social Software and the Future of Conferences Right Now by Vicki Suter, Bryan Alexander, and Pascal Kaplan for EDUCAUSE
- Manifesto for the Reputation Society by Hassan Masum and Yi-Chen Zhang for First Monday
- The Structure of Collaborative Tagging Systems by Scott A. Golder and Bernardo A. Huberman at HP Labs
Blogs to keep up with Web 2.0 and libraries:
There’s a lot of social software out there. The trick is picking applications that actually fill a need you have rather than trying to find a use for the technology in your life. Otherwise you’re bound to have Burnout 2.0.
Now back to LTR (life trumps blogging).