Explorations by Kenley Neufeld

Web 3.0 and Semantic Web

By on May 2, 2008

My friend Tyler posted a social map on Twitter recently and I realized I am involved with many social tools on the web but definitely don’t have time to create one of these fancy maps. However, what I’ve have been playing with lately is Twine and social|median – two tools that deal with the semantic web. My understanding of the semantic web is that it harnesses collaborative groups and technology to analyze data to provide content intelligently. This is Web 3.0. It’s kind of like the Propaedeutic Enchiridion in Neil Stephenson’s Diamond Age. Anyway, I don’t know if we are quite there yet but some progress is being made. Twine is invite-only beta and social|median is in alpha (launched in February).

According to Twine, it is “powered by semantic understanding, Twine automatically organizes information, learns about your interests and makes connections and recommendations. The more you use Twine, the better it understands your interests and the more useful it becomes.”

Social|median, the newer of the two, says it “is a social news service that connects people with personalized news and information.”

I’ve got to admit that these products were challenging to wrap my brain around. Though I am very savvy when it comes to technology, and have been a regular user and teacher of the internet since the early 90s, I’m a little confounded by Tween and social|median.  I love the concept and will continue to use both services. I think the real benefit won’t happen until they reach a critical mass of users. Since it has only been a week or two of playing, I’m still on the learning curve. Right now, it feels a little overwhelming and that my RSS Reader does a better job of pulling in content. However, with RSS I may miss something unless I heavily use the social aspects of RSS. Both products have a button you can add to your browser so that material can be clipped into the product, assigned a tag or a group, and shared with others.  Both Tween and social|median are designed to send me a daily email, sort of like a newspaper, with all the new content for the groups or tags I am interested in. Unfortunately, this has only worked with Twine though I’m pretty sure I have the setting correct in social|median (granted, they are in “alpha” with only 2,315 users). So, basically I’m getting a daily feed that is customized to my interests.

One side note, just signed up for brightkite, a location based social network. The idea is to use your phone to post your location (including a note or picture) and then use it to find others within your physical range. Very strange. It connects with Twitter too and can feed your location to your tweets.

The key thing here is that I’m having FUN and still have some of the beta geek from days gone by. Social|median just added 500 users on Tuesday, so if I hear of another opening, I will post it here. I do have 10 invites for Twine and 3 for brightkite; if your interested in either, post a message in the comments.