Programming - - By David Peterson

Twine — it’s all coming together now

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 del.icio.us — 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!

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