Web clipping and microblogging

* Evernote's Scrapbook add-on

One of the problems with the Web is just how much interesting stuff there is. Every day I come across huge amounts of useful or thought-provoking content on all sorts of sites and keeping track of it using bookmarks is simply not a workable proposition.

For quite some time I’ve been using a utility with a browser add-in called Evernote to solve this problem.

Evernote allows you to capture the whole or part of a Web page; categorize captures; search; and a whole range of other features some of which take the product way beyond the Web and into a more generalized area of information management. I plan to review the next release of Evernote in a near future Gearhead column (Compare Information Management products).

But as good as Evernote is it might be providing more power than some users want. A simpler version of “Web clipping” for Firefox can be had by installing the Scrapbook add-on, which offers “lightness, speed, accuracy and multi-language support.” Like Evernote, Scrapbook can save whole Web pages as well as “snippets” and whole Web sites. The saved content is organized in the same way as bookmarks and there’s full text searching and filtering as well as basic editing of saved content.

But there’s something that Evernote and Scrapbook don’t do that many people are getting into these days: “Microblogging.” The idea is to capture your clips to your microblog.

Microblogging is the province of services such as Tumblr (recently covered in this newsletter). Essentially, microblogs are a sequence of clips of “stuff” that the microblog owner finds interesting and or useful – what you might think of as a “stream of attention” (check out my stream of attention on my Tumblr tumblelog).

As I discussed in that previous newsletter, Tumblr has a browser add-on to make clipping easy and you can post from mobile devices, from a mini-application under OS X, via AOL instant messaging, and embed your tumblelog on Web pages.

Despite a lot of competition in this market new takes on the concepts of Web clipping and microblogging appear, it seems, pretty much every week, which is understandable – the concepts are new enough that while the underlying principles might be very similar the user interfaces and Web outputs are still up for re-thinking and innovation.

In next week’s second issue of this newsletter I’ll cover another entrant in this market that looks very promising.

PS. Don’t forget to join in on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. Pacific Coast time for the Web Applications teleconference. Call 1-309-946-5000 and enter the participant access code 649206 and let’s see what’s on your minds.

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