Subjot: Take Twitter & Make It Relevant

Occasionally I have insomnia and the only way I can get back to sleep is get up and accomplish something. Anything. So, last night, I wandered downstairs at 2:45 a.m. and flipped on the computer. I skimmed the first few entries on Google + and stumbled onto Louis Gray’s post about another new service, Subjot. I took the bait, and visited the site.

It immediately captured my interest, mainly because it fills a hole that Twitter has left gaping wide open – the ability to view a stream based on the content you are interested in, rather than the person you are interested in. Yes, it looks a whole lot like Twitter, with its “bites” of information in short form (250 characters to be exact) flowing by in a stream, or more precisely at this early stage, a trickle. But there are a few meaningful differences. Subjot leads with its subject matter tags, rather than its users. You can, of course, follow people, but to do so, you have to select one of their subject areas. These are determined when people post their bites – you have to assign a category or tag describing the subject matter of the post. A post about Subjot should be tagged, obviously, with the Subjot tag. If you follow someone and have indicated you want to follow them for their expertise on Subjot, then this post will appear in your stream. However, when that same person posts about, say, Wagnerian Opera, which you have chosen (for better or worse) not to follow, you will NOT see their post about Ride of the Valkyrie in your stream.

 

Screenshot of Subjot Co-Founder Chris Carella's Stream

 

Another very cool feature that is baked in, but which requires a bit of finagling to achieve on Twitter, is the ability to readily comment about and see the conversation surrounding a particular post. Like you might find on Google +, there is the initial post and then related comments appended or nested with that post within the stream. You can find people by topics and browse topics themselves to build your stream in precisely the form you want. And, if your follows properly tag their posts, you will see your interests, your whole interests and nothing but your interests in your stream. Pretty freaking cool.

Right now, Subjot suffers, if anything, from a lack of user base. It is in invite only beta right now, but I happen to have a handy invite link if you are interested in checking this smart new service out. Just click here. Hope you like it as much as I did – I felt so accomplished I was able to fall right back asleep in no time!

 

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Scrible: Your Web Search Annotation Tool

Remember the days of scribbling notes in the margins of your *gasp* paper-filled text book, highlighting passages with your yellow (or pink or green or orange) marker, dog-earing pages or photocopying and marking up copies of library volumes? Reach back — I know you can find that lost memory.

If it is to be believed that Web research is beating book research at the very game it invented, then how is a researcher to mark-up or jot down all the rich thoughts a source may evoke as you tear through them on the Web? One option is the very cool new bookmarklet / toolbar Scrible.

Scrible hits the highlights: save pages for later, sans broken links; annotate pages right in the browser; save and find research with tags, legends and search; and, access research from anywhere (because its in the cloud).

The primary means for accessing Scrible’s goodness is via bookmarklet or browser add-on that works in most browsers. The resulting toolbar offers the tools for annotating the page you are visiting. Share or save the work, and then retrieve it and use it further from your library on scrible.com.

Scrible currently is in public beta, as of yesterday morning. Basic service, with 125 MB of storage, is free. It appears Scrible is contemplating paid and enterprise versions with more storage and features.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Check out these images from scrible’s own tour page and see how cool this little toolbar really is:

Rich annotations with multiple text styles and colors

Add thoughts to page with "Sticky Notes"

Categorize Annotations with "Dynamic Legends"

Quick, easy export of annotations to a Document (IE add-on only at this time)

Share Marked Web Pages by Email

Save Web Research to Online Account

Organize, Search, Retrieve Saved Web Research

 

Go forth, Scrible, and mark up your Web!

Hashtags: The Backbone Of The Modern Conference (For Better Or Worse)

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.
Image via Wikipedia

Have you wondered where all the action lurks at legal conferences (or any conferences) these days? Check out this thorough description of the “hashtag” experience at the recent American Association of Law Library conference, July 24 – 29, 2009. If you are unclear on the hashtag concept, it is another long-standing Twitter convention hearkening back to the days when search was nearly non-existent. Marking a universally-accepted term with a hashtag at the front permitted the tweets containing the mark to be collected. See this earlier Studio post for more detail.

Roger Skalbeck and Meg Kribble provide an extraordinarily detailed account of how Twitter and hashtags were used to broad effect at the recent conference in their LLRX article here. The authors created tweet clouds from the tags to visualize the importance (or recurrence) of various topics. They discussed the fall out of anonymous attendees posting to a special account created just for the conference. Hashtag humor and conversation hijacking and blatant business promotion arose in the tagged tweets and accounts.

I am not sure the authors of the article are aware of all of the lessons that the AALL hashtag experience may offer for future legal conferences, from both the organizers’ and the attendees’ points of view. Can too much communication be a positive or negative? Hit the jump and read the account to reach your own conclusions.

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