By David Peterson

Twine — it’s all coming together now

By David Peterson

I have been using Twine now for about a day and I am already in love with one feature (among many I am just starting to appreciate).

Email posting.

Email posting to your private account or a twine you are a member of is great. I like it a lot. In fact, this singe feature alone is killer enough for me to believe that Twine is great. An intelligent assistant that takes all that I shovel into it and creates connections and makes order from the mess. Nice.

Twine logo

Each Twine user gets their own personal address that they can email things to. Notes, URLs, pictures, whatever. And it sure is smart :) I can send an email with a bunch of links and it adds each one separately as a bookmark. Now this is the cool part, it then goes out and determines (with some Semantic Web tech) what those web links and the text are about and creates a tag cloud, pulls out People, Place, Organisations (and more) and adds them intelligently to my Twine.

These People, Places and Organisations are not the tags we know and love from flickr or — no sir. These are shiny new tags that relate to real things. And of course these real things have their own life with their own identities. Twine understands this and allows for this richness. I might be reading an article that mentions Organisation X and it will recommend an article by Susan Smith because Twine knows that:

[Susan] [works for] [Organisation X]

Armed with this engine, I can crack open an email, jot down a few notes, add some web links, mention some friends and items and click send. Or when I am out of the office and see something interesting I can grab a quick photo, add a few tags and email away. Easy as that. I can let Twine do all the heavy lifting of creating the links and finding the connections.

Twine and your data

Now the text of the email becomes structured data. This structured data is your data, it is portable. You can take it out of Twine and do what you want with it. Mashups become so much easier when the entire Twine system is built not only for humans to read but for computers to process.

This is key. This is what makes Twine different to all the other social networks. They respect the fact that your network is yours and the information in it should be yours as well. I can transform it, mix it, mash it… whatever.

Data portability

This sort of transparency is the perfect example of data portability in action. I get what’s mine plus a whole lot of extra intelligence which increases the value of my original data. So even though I can take my bags and leave at any moment why would I? Currently, Twine can do things that no other social network can do. The only reason I would leave is if something better came along and boy I would welcome that!

  • Wolf_22

    I’ll admit that the post-by-email thing is pretty neat. I have a hard time that this thing is the only one out there to do this, though. Anyone know of any other Web n.0 apps that post-by-email?

    Anyhoo, I think I’ll give this thing a try for the BETA when I get home. Seems useful, especially if it’s semantic.

  • Wolf_22, I think WordPress has a post-by-email feature

  • Wolf_22 & cranial-bore: I am sure other Web apps have post-by-email (and I do believe WordPress is one of them). The thing that makes Twine really interesting is the fact of what it *does* once it receives the email.

    Its engine kicks in and starts auto-tagging and extracting People, Places, Organisations and building recommendations to other Twine resources. That is what is cool.

  • gagsfitz

    Sounds great. Have requested a beta pass.

  • Anonymous

    I’m still waiting for my Beta from about 3 or so months ago to kick in… You lucky guy, David!

  • hannson

    Wolf_22: Google Docs supports email->document

  • Adam Lindemann

    Our approach at Imindi (An application built by a team of Phd computer and neuro scientists) is to take a “mind” approach to helping people to construct their own “mind maps” of connected thoughts and information on any subject. These Mind Maps are little semantic webs that work “As we think” and the “Thought Engine” (Semantic Graph) at the core of Imindi enable Like Minded people (Social Graph) to connect and combine the Thoughts, Information and even Create Knowledge. At the core, all the semantic linkages from every body`s public mind maps collape on themselves to form essentially one global mind map. The closest vision to what we have built was not that of the Semantic Web, but that of the Memex by Vanevver Bush – but as we build a layer of thought and meaning over the information on the web…I would suggest that we are also very much a Semantic App worth watching.

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