Building Foundations In A Stream Of Thought

Imagine you just heard about an awesome new computer game that is coming out and a friend tells you to go visit the game’s product site to find out more about it. So you enter in the web address and up pops the site. Hmm, strange you think. The game product site is nothing more than a discussion forum. Ok, no big deal you think, I’ll just read some of the latest posts to find about the game.

Very quickly you start getting frustrated because the latests posts do talk about the game but none of them give you a good overview of what the game is about. So you decide to continue reading the forum posts. After an hour, you think you’ve learnt more about the game but you STILL aren’t absolutely sure what it is about. Finally you throw your arms up in frustration and leave the site because you can’t find the information you need.

What am I talking about? Blogs. The thing that tons of people use everyday, yet they still don’t give us a good grasp or overview of what a person may be talking about on the blog, especially if you are new to that blog. Think of it like a summary or synopsis of the best posts aggregated, filtered, and grouped for your review so that you can quickly know what the blog and author are talking about. Sound like Squidoo? It is to a degree but instead of manually creating your Squidoo page, you’re dynamically creating these summary pages via the blog system itself.

I don’t know about you but I’m already seeing a ton of uses for these types of pages or views. I know a lot of people who are frustrated right now because they may be looking for work or may be wanting to communicate their ideas to other people (both of which I’ve experienced myself in the past). Well I honestly believe these people are so frustrated with blogging because a normal blogging format doesn’t really help them because it just shows their stream of thoughts. If they want to communicate why they would be a great hire for employment or why their ideas are great then they need to find some way to aggregrate, filter, and group their best thoughts on their site, even if they have to do it manually. Why these summary viewpoints are extremely important is that they provide a solid foundation for which people can quickly and easily understand what a person is all about, without having to traverse the person’s entire stream of thought to do so. And as you can already guess, yes I’m working on this for my own site.

When I’ll actually have something up is another story though. And actually in mentioning the word "story", you could also thing of these summary viewpoints as exactly that. Stories that are comprised of a collection of events, organized and formatted for easier understanding.

3 thoughts on “Building Foundations In A Stream Of Thought

  1. Have you used Squidoo?

    Your summary pages there describe to me my lens and signpost lists, dynamically created with my typetagging metadata.

    I’d like to see this used with rel=”lens” and the draft rel=”directory” microformat so as to be aggregated. I will likely be doing this or something improved in my own aggregator.

    Am curious as to how you plan to do your summaries.

    The next natural step for blogs are microformats and customisable forms you can save as your own content form templates. Googlebase does something like this (badly). Drupal too has done this (poorly) for a while, though, they’re working on a cool module to improve that atm.

    Ultimately though, most people just want to write. Thats what blogs let them do. Why people can’t find stuff when they want to.

  2. Michael, sorry we don’t give out release dates because things always change (and we don’t want to upset people by saying an updates coming but then it gets pushed back for some reason). You can guesstimate how often we release updates by looking at the previous release date history on the Squarespace services site though.

    Craig, ya I wasn’t impressed with the implementation of Squidoo either but the idea is still a good one (which is why I want to use it in some way on my site as well). As for how I do this, it may be by hand as well since no blogging solution out there has these types of dynamics views I want to see. At the very least, I may create them by embedding RSS Feed Javascript within different sections of a page so that it looks like a collection of different groups of topics all relating to one main topic (i.e. Posts on Gaming, Sites on Gaming, Books on Gaming, etc).

    Ya, while Drupal has some interesting features, so far I’m not hearing good things about their implementation either (i.e. needs major usability improvements).

    And your last point about “people just want to write” is it in a nutshell for me. Whatever approach is taken, it needs to be EXTREMELY simple.

    BTW sorry I didn’t get a chance to reply further to your email this weekend. I’ve been trying to relax and unwind by staying off the computer and doing some reading. 🙂

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