Threaded Thought Streams

It’s weird. I was thinking last night if there was a way I could organize content without utilizing tags at all and it dawned on me that using a threaded approach would be one such way. Therefore if I looked at my blog journal, I would not only see my entire journal stream of content but also any threads on a particular stream of thought. Even more so I could filter those visible threads by a time frame so that I only see the more current ones, since older threads may not interest me anymore.

Even more so I wondered how could you show these thought streams, especially from the viewpoint of them intersecting and crisscrossing one another. Then it dawned on me that Flickr actually does this very well already. Your Flickr Sets and Groups are streams of photos that have been organized by topic. And best of all, you can actually see a small portion of each of these streams, as they crisscross each other, on the right sidebar area of Flickr. If this was duplicated in a journal blog, imagine being on a journal post and seeing the streams that these post belongs to on the side bar with the "previous" and "next" thoughts in the stream being showed for each stream. This is similar to what you see when you are browsing through a journal blog up near the top where it shows the previous and next posts relating to the post you are viewing, as well as a "Main" link, but you’d also add the previous and next posts for each thought stream (or topic) that this post relates to as well. Of course even if you could organize these thoughts streams by threading them, it would still be a good idea to create a title for the thought stream itself.

Something interesting to note though with this approach (that is similar to Flickr) is that all of your content does not need to be organized into these different streams but they can be just left in the global stream of thoughts if you want. Only if you notice a pattern in certain thoughts would you "grab" them and place them within their own thought stream (similar to how you can organize photos in Flickr in sets or groups). From a blog viewpoint, it would be not worrying about classifying and grouping every single minute thing but only the things that you notice having relationships or form patterns with one other.

3 thoughts on “Threaded Thought Streams

  1. Something interesting to note though with this approach (that is similar to Flickr) is that all of your content does not need to be organized into these different streams but they can be just left in the global stream of thoughts if you want.

    I gotta stop blogging my Thought Streams. 😛
    You know my pockets?
    Single stream with embedded streams… pockets for want of a better description.
    I kinda see them as containers for wormholes, transporting you into other streams. All interconnected in some way or another on the same plane. Although my mental picture is a little hazy on that.
    I called them pockets because as a pocket they’re more secure, only one way in. Go the wrong way and you don’t even know its there. Only those in the know do. Some pockets are zipped tight too. Some with padlocks.
    Remember the levels of privacy space we discussed?

  2. Actually it was your Thought Streams post that reminded me of posts that I had done on this “streams” subject a little while back. At one time, my journal feed was actually entitled “Stream of Thoughts” (maybe a month ago). Where I got the idea was from Dave Winer when he said RSS feeds are like a “flow”. As soon as I heard that word, I thought of streams and that’s what I felt my thoughts were like because each stream was like a different thought that intersected one another.

    RSS Continually Flows
    http://nollind.whachell.com/2005/9/14/rss-continually-flows/

    Mapping The Flow Of Information
    http://nollind.whachell.com/2005/9/23/mapping-the-flow-of-information/

    And then soon after that Six Apart used the same wording of “streams” when announcing Project Comet.

    Six Apart Announces Project Comet
    http://nollind.whachell.com/2005/9/23/six-apart-announces-project-comet/

    More than anything though, I like this usage of the word “streams” because it equates very closely with the permaculture research which would equate the Web to an ecosystem.

    Permaculture of the Web
    http://nollind.whachell.com/2005/10/8/permaculture-for-the-web/

    Ya, the single stream with the embedded streams is similar to my thoughts on it but I called it a river with embedded streams. I even imagined of all of these rivers connected together forming an ocean of thought which would be the world (which I mention in the RSS Continually Flows post above).

    Your idea of pockets and wormholes aren’t something I’ve thought about fully yet but it makes total sense because you’ll need a way to make a journal stream or even a post private from others. You can keep certain posts (and even followups) in Squarespace unpublished so that only you can see them but you still can’t set a per post audience setting on each one.

  3. BTW you’ll probably note that I’m changing the structure of my site slightly. The idea is to emulate this stream approach so that each separate stream emulates an existing service. My photo stream should emulate Flickr closely and my links stream should emulate del.icio.us (and so on).

    I actually tried this half-ass a while back but now that I made these realizations about how Flickr shows these streams, I’m going to make another stab at it. How I can emulate these different streams (with previous and next photo) on the side I have no idea yet.

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